CHAPTER ONE 1:0 INTRODUCTION 1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY Cities are at the nexus of a further threat to the environment, namely the production of an increasing quantity and complexity of wastes. The estimated quantity of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) generated worldwide is 1.7 – 1.9 billion metric tons.2 In many cases, municipal wastes are not well managed in developing countries, as cities and municipalities cannot cope with the accelerated pace of waste production. Waste collection rates are often lower than 70 per cent in low-income countries. More than 50 per cent of the collected waste is often disposed of through uncontrolled landfilling and about 15 per cent is processed through unsafe and informal recycling. Municipal Solid Waste Management 2 As a Mayor, you may have to face challenging waste management decisions addressing issues that require immediate attention as well as potential issues that require strategic and integrated planning and implementation. Establishing and improving facilities for collection, recycling, treatment and disposal for MSW management can be very costly. For example, building and operating sanitary landfills and incineration plants require huge investments and incur substantial operation and maintenance costs. Furthermore, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find suitable locations for waste treatment facilities due to the prevalence of the Not In My Backyard NIMBY) attitude amongst communities. Meanwhile, if waste is growing at 3-5 per cent a year and rural-urban migration increases a city’s population at a similar rate, then a city’s waste generation will double every 10 years.4 Urban managers are therefore encouraged to pursue the paths of Integrated Solid Waste Management (ISWM) and Reduce, Reuse and Recycle (3Rs) that place highest priority on waste prevention, waste reduction, and waste recycling instead of just trying to cope with ever-increasing amounts of waste through treatment and disposal. Such efforts will help cities to reduce the financial burden on city authorities for waste management, as well as reducethe pressure on landfill requirements. We live in a world of increasing scarcity. Raw materials from natural resources are limited, financial resources are often insufficient, and securing land for final disposal is getting more difficult. Clearly, city authorities should set policy directions aiming for resource efficient, recycle-based society if they are to provide a clean, healthy and pleasant living environment to its citizens for current and future generations. Although waste management responsibilities primarily lie with cities and municipalities, many of the successful cases in waste management involve a wide range of stakeholders in their implementation, as can be seen in the case studies cited here. This gives a clear message to cities and municipalities that they should not try to do everything by themselves. Rather, the key to success is to do what they are good at, and collaborate with other sectors in the society, such as private sector, communities and in some cases with the informal sector, in the interest of expanding waste management services and improving efficiency and effectiveness. 1.2 STATEMENT OF THE RESEARCH PROBLEM In the pursuit of sustainable waste management, the prevention of waste generation is the first priority, followed by waste recovery and safe disposal of waste on the hierarchy of principles for waste management (Figure 1.1). These principles need to be put in practice through joint waste prevention and management measures if growing environmental degradation is to be avoided. For example, the use of valuable land for waste disposal, the release of harmful substances from landfills and waste transports into air, soil and water, and the use of resources that are transformed into disposed waste instead of being reused or recycled will all have negative impacts on the environment, and will have a long-lasting direct and indirect influences on the quality of life (European Urban Waste Management Cluster (EUWMC), 2005).
It is known that there have been some local methods by which solid wastes were been reused or recycled. The knowledge of waste recycling and reuse might not be totally new in the Nigerian context. Rather, it is the current sophistication involved that is rather new. Waste facilities in developing countries are minimal, but substantial quantities are diverted for recycling (Tajuddeen, 2003). So there was this reuse culture that has been planted in to Nigerians subconsciously. Every item used were structured for reuse. Even today, the sachets of ―pure water‖ are used by horticulturists for flower nursery and paper wrappers are reused. The reuse tradition is what makes old newspapers useful for wrapping roasted groundnut ( Arachis hypogea Linn) and pop corn (guguru) or akara, the popular fried beans cake. Apart from the fact that the reuse culture saves lots of money, it is highly conservative resulting in waste management (Ajibade, 2005).