1.1 Background to the Study
The management of urban solid wastes constitutes one of the immediate and serious environmental problems facing governments in African cities (Baumgartner,
2003). The conventional municipal solid waste management approach, based on collection and disposal, has failed to provide efficient and effective services to all urban residents (Vancini, 2000). The urban environment steadily degrades due to large volumes of waste which are not efficiently managed. In Nigeria, it is common to find large heaps of garbage and other wastes all over the cities. Abugo (1999) reported that 35% of Ibadan’s household, 33% of Kaduna’s and 44% of Enugu’s do not have access to waste collection and disposal services. Odeyemi and Onibokun (1997) described Lagos as the dirtiest capital in the world. In most parts of the cities, streets are partially or wholly blocked by solid wastes. Similarly, open spaces and market places are littered with solid wastes. In most cases, drains are clogged or totally blocked and many compounds are hemmed in by solid wastes. However, this deplorable situation is not peculiar to Nigerian cities.
The concern over solid waste is generated from an aesthetic desire to live in a clean environment and also from the realization that a dirty and cluttered environment is unhealthy and unsafe for the population. This is evident in the incorporation of environmental sanitation as a component of primary health care adopted by the World Health Organization at the Alma Ata Declaration in September, 1978 (WHO, 1978). This was also clearly pointed out at the Istanbul Declaration and the Habitat Agenda for 1988. It was stated that sustainable human settlements depend on the creation of better environment for human health and wellbeing which will improve the living conditions of people and of their lives (United Nations for Human Settlement, 1998).
In spite of the landmark achievements recorded by the developed countries, they are still faced with the potential risks to health and to environment from handling solid and liquid wastes.
In Nigeria, the problem of solid waste is manifested with its consequent effects on pollution of water, air and land with the hazards to health and other natural resources of social and economic importance (Federal Ministry of Housing and Environment, 1982).
There has been an increasing concern about the serious health implications from waste management in Nigeria. Some priority programmes embarked upon by FEPA include waste management education, awareness and publication of relevant information, commitment of appreciable amount of fund, renewal of equipment/facilities and training of manpower. However, solid waste management is still one of the most serious challenges facing the country. This research therefore, tried to find out the problems of solid waste management in Nigeria.