Environmental Management Project Topics

An Investigation Into Appropriate Strategies for Urban Solid Waste Management in Enugu Metropolis

An Investigation Into Appropriate Strategies for Urban Solid Waste Management in Enugu Metropolis

An Investigation Into Appropriate Strategies for Urban Solid Waste Management in Enugu Metropolis

Chapter One


General Objective  

(i)   To assess the solid domestic waste strategies in the Enugu metropolis.

 Specific Objectives  

  • To outline the strategies used to collect and transport solid domestic waste.
  • To identify the factors contributing to inappropriate urban solid waste management.
  • To elicit knowledge of respondents on the consequences of inappropriate urban solid waste management.
  • To identify solid domestic waste disposal strategies.
  • To bring out suggestions for improving urban solid waste management.
  • To make recommendations to all stakeholders as to how to improve upon urban solid waste management.




Disposal is broadly defined to include the collection, storage, treatment or processing, utilization, or final disposal of waste. It involves the process of getting rid of the waste materials that people generate (Mantell, 1972). According to the World Book Encyclopaedia (1994) edition W113, the chief strategies used to dispose of domestic wastes include land disposal, incineration, recycling and waste reduction. Land disposal is where garbage is hauled to an area owned by a community or private firm. Such areas range from unsanitary open dump to appropriately operated sanitary landfills.

Open dumps are poor strategies of waste disposal because of the environmental problems they cause. Incineration is the process of burning waste products. Burning in many of these incinerating plants releases gases and solid particles that may cause health hazards, damage appropriatety and kill plants. Recycling is the process of turning waste into something useful. That is, reusing materials instead of throwing them away. Recycling and waste reduction help lessen the amount of refuse that may be buried in land or burned in incinerators. The recycling process is the best strategy of solid waste management (Foess, 1969).

According to Barrow (1995), a wide range of agricultural and domestic wastes cause eutrophication when they are discharged into streams, rivers and lakes resulting in “Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD)” killing the aquatic flora and fauna.

Most cities in developing countries do not have adequate provisions for collection and disposal of domestic solid wastes, the accumulation of which represents a growing health hazard. Economically, domestic solid waste puts greater pressure on a nation’s financial status particularly in developing countries such as Nigeria. According to Habitat News (1991), waste disposal may absorb 1% of the Gross National Product (GNP) of a country, 20% to 40% of municipal budget of cities in the developing world.

Disposal areas have become unavailable as cities’ suburbs have expanded beyond their former boundaries as places to put the wastes are filling up and a few new locations are made available (Mantell, 1972). Although the habit of the “throw away” culture of domestic waste dies hard especially when backed by ideological views opposing any form of regulation, regional planning is necessary for effective collection, processing and disposal of solid waste, but such planning is lacking in many communities (Mantell, 1972).


A combination of poverty, population pressure and economic hardships are placing a   considerable strain on household environments in Enugu. In Enugu, the municipal authorities have not been able to keep pace with the rapid accumulation of waste. This has resulted in waste being found in gutters, drains, and in rivers. Some of the municipality’s final garbage disposal sites are also located near the sea and is polluting the Korle lagoon. These practices have also created an unhealthy environment in Enugu (Tsiboe and Marbell, 2004). As one report by the Environmental Protection Agency states, “municipal solid waste has been disposed of anywhere anyhow without regard to the nuisance and harm caused to the environment. All kinds of wastes, regardless of their nature, are being dumped indiscriminately into depressions, sand pits, old quarries, beaches, drains and even in certain areas, along streets.”(EPA, 2004). Majority of the people in Nigeria live below the internationally recognized poverty line of one dollar a day. In view of this, one can imagine the pressure that is put on the city’s infrastructure in the course of day to day activities. Some say the problem of waste disposal in Enugu is cultural, others say it is economic, yet others point in the direction of poor management (Tsiboe and Marbell, 2004). Kendie (1999) argues that the recent upsurge in waste disposal problems stems from the fact that, “attitudes and perceptions towards wastes and the rating of waste  disposal issues in peoples’ minds and in the scheme of official development plans have not been adequately considered. Kendie (1999) and Satterthwaite (1998) virtually agree in principle that the waste problem emanates from poverty and lack of funding as a result of low level of economic growth. Agbola (1993) traces the root cause of the problem to imbibed behavioural patterns and acquired values, which are given expression in the people’s culture. Post and Obirih-Opare (2003) have pointed to performance and weakness in the waste management institutions as the bane of the waste problem.





A descriptive cross-sectional study was used to gather data on the strategies used to collect and transport solid domestic waste, factors contributing to inappropriate urban solid waste management and solid domestic waste disposal strategies. Focus Group Discussions were organized to elicit information on consequences of inappropriate urban solid waste management and suggestions offered to improve urban solid waste management.


The study population involved households in the Enugu metropolis with specific reference to household heads or substitutes who usually supervise or direct the daily handling of sanitation in the home and twenty (20) key informants.


Multistage, purposive and simple random sampling techniques were used. Multistage sampling technique was chosen because the study involved a large scale survey and purposive sampling technique was also chosen because the investigator believed that the study subjects had in-depth information which will give optimal insight into the issue under investigation. A random sample of three sub states out of the six in the state was selected. These constituted the first stage sampling units. The communities in the three sub states were listed. According to the number of sampling units in the communities, 140 households were selected from the Agona community, 167 households from the Enugu metropolis by simple random probability sampling. These 407 households became the second stage sampling units of the multistage technique.




This chapter presents details of the findings of 427 household heads or substitutes, key informants and a focus group. The presentations are made in the form of tables with frequencies and percentages for ease of comprehension.




This chapter considers the findings gathered on the sample from the study population and discusses it in line with the objectives, literature review, and the key variables of the research.


The average age of the respondents was 49.5 years; the oldest was 90 and the youngest 22 years. The males were more than the females. A few of them had tertiary education, primary education and no schooling at all with the majority having had secondary education. All respondents either had average or low income with a few unemployed. On the religious front, respondents were either Christians or Muslims with Christians forming the dominant group. Most of them were married with a few either, single, divorced or separated.


A third (32%) of the respondents in the study collected and transported their waste by the door to door strategy (from individual households to containers placed in front of selected houses) and 34% by the communal strategy (from individual households to community storage receptacles for onward transmission to dump site), 17% used the wheelbarrow system and 17% used other strategies. Basically, solid waste collection is the process of transferring solid wastes from storage receptacles into vehicles and then transporting it to the disposal sites (Nyang’echi, 1992). In this study, no vehicles were involved in waste collection but rather people carried waste from the storage sites to the dump site.




Four hundred and twenty-seven (427) respondents were interviewed on .the assessment of the strategies urban solid waste management in the Enugu metropolis through multistage, purposive and simple random sampling. Majority of the respondents had average education (72%). The communal strategy of waste collection was used by 34% of the respondents followed by the door to door strategy of 32%. Waste was mainly carried on the head to the dump site by collectors and a few used the wheelbarrow. Thirty-five percent (35% used plastic bins with lids as the type of receptacle used by the respondents. Eighty percent (80%) had no community storage receptacles and 56% of respondents emptied their storage receptacles once daily. Majority of the respondents disposed of their waste at the refuse dump (85%) and 69% used surface dump at the outskirts of town as the main strategy of waste disposal. The dump site was far away from 59% of the respondents. Seventy-three percent (73%) of respondents recorded unavailability of land for dump site. Respondents stated breeding of vectors of disease and disease outbreak as the major consequence of inappropriate solid waste management (60%). Cholera was listed as the commonest disease caused by inappropriate solid waste management (38%) followed by malaria (37%). Supply of household bins and community storage receptacles (29%) was the most popular suggestion by respondents for improving solid waste management with intensification of health education as the runner-up (17%).


This study has revealed that urban solid waste management is not appropriate and healthy in the Enugu metropolis and the following measures are recommended for action by all stakeholders. 

Educational Institutions  

More students of public health are to undertake further research into urban solid waste management as the study was not in-depth enough due to certain limitations.  Urban solid waste management with more emphasis on recycling of domestic waste and transforming domestic waste into manure and compost should be included in the school curriculum right from the basic to the tertiary levels.

The State Health Management Team  

The DHMT should organize periodic environmental health education at social gatherings, on market days and in places of worship on the need to live in a healthy environment and appropriate strategies of waste disposal.

The State Assembly  

In collaboration with the people, the State Assembly should supply hygienic bins or storage receptacles to community members. The State Assembly should provide waste collection vehicles and come out with a programme that should completely involve the communities (community participation) in managing solid domestic waste in the state.

The Assembly should ensure that recommended dump sites are appropriately located in the communities and regulations governing environmental health are enforced in the communities. Dumping solid domestic waste into landfills and dug trenches should be encouraged by the Environmental Health Unit of the State Assembly.

Government, Non-Governmental Organizations and Research Institutions  

Government, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and research establishments should encourage research into problems concerned with urban solid waste management such as bulkiness, offensive odour and financial constraints among others.

Areas for future research  

Research and educational institutions should research into the possible local use of solid domestic waste and better strategies for urban solid waste management.


  • Enugu metropolis Health Directorate, State Health Management Team,  2007 Annual Health Report.
  • Agbola, T. (1993): Environmental Education in Nigerian Schools, in Filho W  (Ed).Environmental Education in the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth of Learning, Vancouver. Pp 27-29.
  • Amuzu, M. (1996): “Enugu’s Overwhelming Waste Problem” (an article) Daily Graphic, Monday, May 27th1996, pp 5.
  • Asomani-Boateng R., Haight, M. (1998). Journal of Environmental Systems, Vol. 26, No. 1, 1997-1998. Baywood Publishing Company, Inc. Scholarly and Scientific Content.
  • Barret, C., Sue, D. (2001) “Conserving Tropical Biodiversity Amid Weak Institutions. Biosciences 51 (6) :497-502.
  • Barrow, C.J. (1995): Developing the Environmental Problems and Management. Longman Group Ltd. England, pp 207-265.
  • Benneh, G., Songsore , J., Nabila, S., Amuzu, A.T. (1993): Environmental Problems and the Urban Household in the Greater Enugu Metropolitan Area (GAMA), Nigeria. Stockholm Environmental Institute.
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