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1.1 Background of the Study

Wastes comprise all the wastes arising from human and animal activities that are normally solid, discarded as useless or unwanted. Also included are by- products of process lines or materials that may be required by law to be disposed of (Okecha 2000). Solid waste can be classified in a number of ways, on the basis of sources, environmental risks, utility and physical property. On the basis of source, solid wastes are again classified as: Municipal Solid Wastes, Industrial Solid Wastes and Agricultural Solid Wastes. Nigeria’s major urban centres are today fighting to clear mounting heaps of solid waste from their environments. These strategic centres of beauty, peace and security are being overtaken by the messy nature of over flowing dumps unattended heaps of solid wastes emanating from household or domestic or kitchen sources, markets, shopping and business centres. City officials appear unable to combat unlawful and haphazard dumping of hazardous commercial and industrial wastes which are a clear violation of the clean Air and Health Edicts in our environmental sanitation laws, rules and regulation.

Refuse generation and its likely effects on the health, quality of environment and the urban landscape have become burning national issues in Nigeria today. All stakeholders concern with the safety and the beautification of our environment have come to realize the negative consequences of uncleared solid human wastes

found in residential neighborhoods, markets, schools, and central business districts in our cities. These solid wastes have become recurring features in our urban environment. It is no longer in doubt that Nigerian cities are inundated with the challenges of uncleared solid wastes. As a result, urban residents are often confronted with the hazardous impact to their collective health and safety.

A United Nations Report (August 2004) noted with regret that while developing countries are improving access to clean drinking water they are falling behind on sanitation goals. At one of its summit in 2000 (Uwaegbelun 2004) revealed that The World Health Organization-(WHO 2004) and United Nations International Children Education Fund- (UNICEF 2004) joint report in August 2004 that: “about 2.4 billion people will likely face the risk of needless disease and death by the target of 2016 because of bad sanitation”. The report also noted that bad sanitation – decaying or non-existent sewage system and toilets- fuels the spread of diseases like cholera and basic illness like diarrhea, which kills a child every 21 seconds.

The hardest hit by bad sanitation is rural poor and residents of slum areas in fast-growing cities, mostly in Africa and Asia. In 1992, the “Earth Summit” succeeded in alerting the conscience of the world to the urgency of achieving environmentally sustainable development. The Summit asserted that if we know enough to act today, then we must also find answers to many tough conceptual and technical questions that have remained unsolved over time. It affirms that rapid urbanization in developing world if ignored can be a threat to health, the environment and urban productivity.

Cities are the engines of economic growth, but the environmental implications of such growth need to be assessed and managed better. The critical and most immediate problems facing developing countries and their cities are the health impact of urban pollution that are derived from inadequate water services, poor urban and industrial waste management, as well as air pollution, especially from particulates which constitutes part of solid waste.

Among the pressing environmental and public health issues in Nigeria today is the problem of solid waste generation and disposal. The problem of solid waste management is a historical one because man’s existence is inextricably linked to the generation of waste. The problem is becoming intractable as many cities in developing countries cannot keep pace with urbanization, pollution, and the increasingly concomitant generation of garbage due to changing life styles and consumption patterns.

The mountainous heaps of solid wastes that deface Nigerian cities and the continuous discharge of industrial contaminants into streams and rivers without treatment motivated the federal government of Nigeria to promulgate Decree 58 for the establishment of Federal Environmental Protection Agency (FEPA) on 30 December 1988 (Federal Military Government 1988).

A national policy on the environment was formed and the goals of the policy include: to secure for all Nigerians a quality of environment adequate for their health and well being; to raise public awareness and promote understanding of the essential linkages between the environment and development; and to encourage individual and community participation in environmental protection and improvement efforts (FEPA 1989). As regards the solid waste sector, the specific actions desired include collection and disposal of solid waste in an environmentally safe manner; setting up and enforcement of laws, regulations, and standards; encouragement of public participation; environment monitoring and imposition of penalties on defaulters to encourage compliance (FEPA 1989; FRN 1991).

In spite of the formulation of FEPA and a national environmental policy, the environment has not been adequately protected. Interest is mainly on aesthetics, which is rarely achieved (Agunwanba 1998). Wastes collection is irregular and restricted to the major cities. Improperly sited open dumps deface several cities, thereby endangering public health by encouraging the spread of odors and diseases, uncontrolled recycling of contaminated goods and pollution of water sources (Adegoke 1989, Singh 1998).

Sadly, there seems a resignation to the unremitting solid wastes build up by the relevant authorities, where such bodies exist at all. However, in reactions to the inescapable environmental impact of delay in solid wastes removal, the federal government for example, introduced the monthly environmental sanitation in the early seventies. There from the States and Local Governments were expected to take a cue and evolve their own solid wastes management (SWM) strategies based on the peculiarities of their environment.

Each state had in the process of mitigating urban solid wastes, set up Wastes Management Boards (WMB) in attempts to tackle the occurrence of wastes and their hazards to society as a whole. While the unhealthy aspects of abandoned solid wastes can be contained, the more avoidable features of blocked drains, traffic impedance and floods have yet to be fully tackled.

One resonant feature common in the wastes build-up and emanating environmental degradation scenarios is the high cost or capital intensive nature of its amelioration as well as tackling the solid wastes menace. It requires a lot of financial and human capital to minimize and attempt to eradicate the adverse effects of exposed and untreated solid wastes in our urban centres.

It is expected that government would in due course arrive at the means to combat solid wastes and reduce their negative impact on area residents and the perception of our cities as being dirty, chaotic, and full of traces of rotting or fermenting garbage that emit odours harmful to the human body. Obviously, the timely removal of accumulated solid wastes require much more than our governments at all levels are presently engaged in. Further plans, policies and programs would need to be put on a more permanent basis in order to combat the dastardly effects of environmental degradation. Understandably, it would require effective mobilization of resources such as involving all stakeholders in regular counter measure to suppress uncontrolled solid wastes generation and irregular disposal outside city confines altogether.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Visit to some corners and areas in Lagos metropolis revealed that commercial waste generated from food items, broken glasses, plastics, shop and restaurant refuse/waste, hazardous waste and bulky waste are heaped on road sides and some are dumped  in the gutters indiscriminately. This creates rooms for the breeding of vector and rodents such as rats, mosquitoes, flies and has facilitated the spread of communicable diseases like cholera and malaria among the urban dwellers and theses affect economic activities in the area. The worst of it all that urban dwellers have shown ignorant attitude to proper disposal and management of waste

A closed observation of Ocean bank indicated that management of waste disposal is poor, because the government has not provided better technologies as seen in developed cities for effective control of waste. Technologies are needed to improved upon waste generation and management procedure. Again community dwellers have not been enlightened in respect of control, management and hazardous waste generation and disposal.

1.3 Aim /Objective of the Study

The specific objectives are as follows:

To examine the effect of waste management on economic activities in Lagos metropolis.

To examine the influence of poor waste management on the health of the people.

To investigate the relationship between levels of waste generation and socio – economic characteristic of the people.

To evolve a model for efficient waste management in Lagos Metropolis.

  • Research Questions

The following are the research questions used for this study:

  1. What is the effect of waste management on economic activities in Lagos metropolis?
  • What is the influence of poor waste management on the health of the people?
  • What is the relationship between levels of waste generation and socio – economic characteristic of the people?
  • What is the model effective for efficient waste management in Lagos Metropolis?
    • Hypothesis of the Study

Below are the research hypotheses of this study:

There is no significant effect of waste management on economic activities in Lagos metropolis.

There is no significant of influence of poor waste management on the health of the people.

1.6 Significance of the Study         

A study of waste generation and management is of great importance to the government in the sense that it informs the local government of its social responsibilities in the provision of better waste management technologies and tool for effective or proper waste control and management

Also the findings of this study will serve as channel of   enlightenment to the urban dwellers who generate and dispose waste indiscriminately. This with help to improve on disposal of waste knowing that it bring hazard to human health and hampers economic activites.


The study is limited to Lagos metropolis in Lagos STate. However, only wastes will be included in the study


In every research work, it is likely that the researcher may encounter some limitations. The researcher encountered some challenges during the period of carrying out this research. Some of these challenges include lack of interest of the respondents on the subject under study. Some of the respondents refused to fill the questionnaire, some collected without returning them, while some returned the questionnaire without filling it.

Meanwhile, the researcher was able to overcome the challenges by educating the respondents on the subject under study, and also guided the respondents to supply the information needed, as well as being able to strive up the interest of the respondents.



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