CHAPTER 1.0 INTRODUCTION TO RESEARCH STUDY
The city of Aba in Abia state is one of the most highly commercialised cities in Nigeria. The city generates large amount of waste as a result of industrialisation and dense population. The current waste management practice in the city which involves dumping of waste at dump sites, and by road sides for pick up by refuse collectors, thus damaging the environment, and making it aesthetically unpleasant too. This study explores the waste management practices in the city of Aba in Abia State, with the aim of using the knowledge derived from this study to make recommendations for a sustainable waste management practice rather than the indiscriminate dumping of waste at dump sites, and along the roads.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF STUDY
Human activities generate waste materials that are often discarded because they are considered useless. However, many of these materials can be reused, and thus they can become a resource for industrial production or energy generation, if managed properly (Tchobanoglous and Kreith, 2002). Third world countries face particular challenges in the management of solid waste, as in other aspects of environmental management. Some of the issues are very similar to those in the industrialised countries, but there are a number of fundamental differences that are shared by most countries of the developing world. It is essential to take cognisance of the wider economic, social and cultural context of the developing world in order that the challenge may be met (Thomas-Hope, 1998, pp 1- 2). The extent and nature of urbanisation in developing countries have major implications for solid waste management. Approximately 30 to 50 % of the population of developing countries is urban and generates a disproportionately high volume of waste. The greater proportion, some 75 %, is domestic waste (Thomas-Hope, 1998, pp 1 - 2). According to Thomas-Hope, (1998), ‘the social aspect of the challenge is further reflected in the population that derives a livelihood from scavenging at refuse collection points and dump sites. This is consistent with the high level of informal economic activity that occurs in developing countries, especially among the poor. The marginal socio-economic position of so many people in third world cities also makes it difficult for the authorities to achieve behaviour modifications through education and sensitisation programmes’. Furthermore, in tackling waste generation in developing countries, as in other aspects of environmental management, there is a general lack of a culture of cooperation that would produce a disposition for corporate effort. Besides, there are usually no well-developed enforcement mechanisms that would effectively coerce the mass of the population to comply with the stringent regulatory and legal frameworks required for effective management of waste (Thomas-Hope, 1998, pp 1 - 2). The current problems associated with solid waste lie not only in the increased quantities and greater urban concentrations of waste generated but also in waste varieties which have to be managed, and in transnational potential for contamination. This complex problem underlies the necessity for a comprehensive, multi-sectoral approach. The approach must incorporate a proactive dimension in order to reduce not only the amount of waste generated or discarded, but also to redirect the minds and behaviours of populations towards a new level of positive participation for maintenance of environment health, ecological protection and aesthetic satisfactory condition (Thomas-Hope, 1998, pp 1 - 2). The challenge lies in finding an appropriate strategy that can combine acquisition of financial means of closing existing gaps between technological need and capability in various aspects of environmental management. The creation of local methods addresses problems within the particular economic and social-cultural constraints and opportunities of each country. The challenge also...
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