Environmental Management Project Topics

Environmental Impacts of Plastic Pollution in Unity Area, Ilorin

Environmental Impacts of Plastic Pollution in Unity Area, Ilorin

Environmental Impacts of Plastic Pollution in Unity Area, Ilorin

Chapter One

General Objective

The study will be guided by one general objective which is to examine the environmental effect of plastic in Unity Area.

Specific Objectives of the Study: to examine plastic’s environmental effect

The specific objectives of the study are to;

  1. Determine sources contributing to plastic waste in Unity Area.
  2. Examine methods of plastic waste disposal in Unity Area.
  3. Examine environmental effect of plastic in Unity Area.
  4. Investigate barriers in plastic waste management in Unity Area.




Generation of waste requires proper management of waste that will help safeguard the increasing volume and complexity of waste which poses serious risks to human health and the environment as well. Rapid industrialization, urbanization, population growth and migration from the country side to towns, such as Unity Area, have resulted in plastic waste generation, which is commonly considered as an urban issue. It is highly related with economic growth, degree of industrialization and consumption pattern and lavish lifestyle of city dwellers. Plastic waste generation and management is a burning issue all over the world and the planners and policy formulators are finding it extremely difficult to handle this problem mainly because of slapdash and unchecked urbanization. More or less every human activity creates some kind of waste, and rapid urbanization directs to the densification and an increase of large amounts of plastic waste within a concentrated area.

Status of Plastic waste in the world

Hoornweg and Bhada-Tata (2012) claimed that world cities generate about 1.3 billion tons per year of plastic waste and this volume is expected to increase to approximately 2.2 billion tons per year by 2025 which will be more than double over the next 20 years in lower income countries. This represents a significant increase in per capital waste generation rates, from the current 1.2 to 1.4kg per person per day in the next fifteen years. Plastic waste management costs will increase from the current‘s annual $ 205.4 million to about $ 375.5 billion in 2025. Costs increase will be most severe in low income countries i.e. more than 5 fold increase and lower middle income countries i.e. more than 4 fold increase.

Moreover, waste generation varies as a function of affluence, and that regional and country variations can be significant as does generation rates of plastic waste management. Sub-Saharan Africa was believed to approximately generate 62 million tons of waste per year, and that per capita waste generation was generally low in this region, but spanned to a wide range, from 0.09kg to 3.0kg per capita person per day with an average of 0.65kg per capita per day. The countries with the highest per capita rates were islands due to waste generated by the tourism industry.

However, Hoornweg et al, (2005), estimated the annual waste generation in East Asia and the Pacific Region is approximately 270 million tons per year. This quantity is mainly influenced by waste generation in China, which makes up 70% of the regional total. Per capita waste generation ranges from 0.44 to 4.3 kg per person per day for the region, with an average of 0.95 kg/capita/day.

In addition Hoornweg and Bhada-Tata (2012) also observed that in Eastern and Central Asia, the waste generated per year is at least 93 million tons. Eight countries in this region have no available data on waste generation in the literature. The per capita waste generation ranges from 0.29 to 2.1 kg per person per day, with an average of 1.1 kg/capita/day.

Latin America and the Caribbean, on the other hand, have the most comprehensive and consistent data (i.e. PAHO‘s Regional Evaluation of Plastic waste Management, 2005). The total amount of waste generated per year in this region is 160 million tons, with per capita values ranging from 0.1 to 14 kg/capita/day, and an average of 1.1 kg/capita/day.

In the Middle East and North Africa, however, plastic waste generation is 63 million tons per year. Per capita waste generation is 0.16 to 5.7 kg per person per day, and has an average of 1.1 kg/capita/day. The OECD (Organizations for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries generate 572 million tons of plastic waste per year. The per capita values ranges from 1.1 to 3.7 kg per person per day with an average of 2.2 kg/capita/day. In South Asia, approximately 70 million tons of waste is generated per year, with per capita values ranging from 0.12 to 5.1 kg per person per day and an average of 0.45 kg/capita/day. Uruguay has the distinction of generating the least MSW that is 0.11kg/capita/day while Trinidad and Tobago generates 14.40 kg/capita/day, which is the highest in the world. And surprisingly both the countries lie in Latin America and the Caribbean Region. In other words, the study demonstrated that the higher the income of a country the most per capita waste produced as compared to the lower the income of a country the least plastic waste produced, which then translates to 41 per cent of waste collected in low income countries as compared to that of 98 per of waste collection in high income countries.








This section describes the research design and methodology that was adopted in this study. It entails the nature and sources of data, population and sample description, methods of data collection and analysis.

Research Design

The research was a case study and adopted both qualitative and quantitative research methods. The quantitative methods was used to obtain data in frequencies and percentages whereas the qualitative techniques was also used to collect detailed data that contributed to in-depth understanding of the context of plastic waste management.

 Target Population, Sample Size and Sampling Procedure

Saunders et al (2009), define sampling frame as the complete list of all the cases in the population from which a probability sample is drawn. The sample frame of the study was drawn from the National census list; National Bureau of Statistics (NBS 2009), where Unity Area‘s population was at 58208 and subjected it to the following formula to determine the sample size; the Nasuirma Model was used;

𝑛 = {𝑁𝐶𝑣2 }/{𝐶𝑣2 + (𝑁 − 1)c2}

Where; nis the sample size

N Target population (58208)

𝐶𝑣 – is the coefficient of variation (0.5)

cis the tolerance of desired level of confidence, at 95% level (0.05)

Nasuirma (2000) formula which is expressed as follows;

The Nasuirma model determined by:

Therefore n=58208(0.5)2 / 0.5 + (58208-1)0.052

n= 14552/ 145.518125

n= 100

The study comprised of Plastic waste managers, sources of plastic waste e.g. households and commercial institutions such as markets and slaughter houses within the area of study and barriers of plastic waste. Other actors and stakeholders in the study area like government bodies and non-governmental organizations were also included. The respondents were systematically chosen from selected locations within the area of study. Systematic random sampling technique was used to sample respondents in the study area.

The researcher only identified what type of waste were being generated from markets, slaughter houses, and industries with respect to household types of waste.

Due to financial constraints and time to the project, it was unlikely that the researcher would have embarked on measuring the volumes of various types of waste which would have been available for the subjection of hypothesis testing. Therefore, the researcher only concentrated on households as the Unit of Analysis.



Demographic Information

This section presents information on demographic data that was collected from the field. This includes gender, age and educational level.



 Summary of findings

The findings of the study were mostly centered on Households in the study area as the unit of analysis. However, due to financial constraints and time of the research project, it was unlikely that the study would have solved all the problems associated with the study area. Furthermore, the study only identified in reference to the first objective in chapter one, determined sources contributing to plastic waste in Unity Area i.e. types of waste generated in commercial establishments e.g. Markets, Slaughterhouse and industries in the study area.

Among the summary of the research findings upon which the conclusions and recommendations of the study were made are; firstly, starting with household waste types affects plastic waste management. The results from the test statistics used from the chisquare test indicated that there is a significant relationship between Household Waste Types and Plastic waste Management. This supports the assumption that Household Waste types such as organic (food materials), plastics, metals, and polythene affects Solid Waste Management in the study area. In that, household waste type such organic (food materials), plastics, metals, and polythene affects Plastic waste Management in terms of pollution to the environment, diseases and health hazards brought about by pollution and uncollected waste in the study area, degredation of the environment with plastic paper bags and lastly extinction of species especially birds e.g. cranes(birds) feeding on waste.

Secondly, again results from the test statistics used from the chi-square test indicated that there is a significant relationship between household waste types and the reasons for household disposal preference method. This supports the assumption that there is a relationship between Household Waste types and the reason for Household disposal preference method. This is better understood by the easiest mode of disposal in the study area is by the use of plastic paper bags which is evident in the study area. This makes waste degrade the environment.

Lastly, the results from the test statistics used from the chi-square test indicated that there is a significant relationship between age and household Waste Types. This supports the assumption that there is a relationship between age and household Waste Type.

The population of in the study area is composed of the youth population, the child bearing population and the county‘s productive population are on the majority as compared to older population. This means that generation of waste is increasing with the population and that household waste type such organic (food materials), plastics, metals, and polythene are generated more in the study area.

In addition to, the summary of the findings, the study also sort to answer the questions of the research project that are in chapter one. Moving on, the first question, what were the sources that contribute to plastic waste in Unity Area? In reference to chapter 5 of the research project, results from the field indicated/illustrated that among the sources that contributed to waste in the study area were from Households and commercial establishments in the study area. Further, most of the waste were organic representing most of the share.

Furthermore, among the methods of plastic waste disposal in Unity Area, results from the field supports the assumption of poor method of disposal/collection. However, methods of collection/disposal from the households was mainly through plastic bags and then transported to the dumpsite of which majority of the residents use dumpsite as compared to incineration and burning. Moreover, the dumpsite that is supplementing the entire study area is already full and its only one.

And lastly, barriers of plastic waste management in Unity Area, was supported by results as indicated/illustrated in chapter 5. Among the results from chapter five of the study, in relation to barriers of plastic waste in this research project, were, personnel for waste management( private service providers and the youth), poor infrastructure, uneven collection of waste, culture in relation to generation of waste, the county council if they are adequately equipped and in terms of their expertise, support from the community in terms of participation, community awareness and sensitization, service provision by those charged with responsibility on plastic waste management in Unity Area .i.e. Corrupt practices and are there cases of overlaps among service providers in terms of jurisdiction on collection of plastic waste in Unity Area.


From testing the study‘s hypothesis and the findings of the results from the field in chapter five, the study however, concludes that the assumption of effects of plastic waste in Plastic waste has held up and it‘s true. Furthermore, Plastic waste Management is in dire situation in the study area.

On the other hand, besides infrastructure being both the physical and organizational capabilities in relation to waste management; they are very poor, such that the illustration of the study concerning sewage situation in Plastic waste is nonexistence and other means supplementing the sewerage connectivity/system is no close to bringing a solution. Furthermore, communal method of disposal is the most predominant method of plastic waste management system in the study area and collection is poor, but the system is gradually paving way for the door-to-door service which runs second in the Ward through the private services providers and the youth. Moreover, these forms of problems are compounded by inadequate proper storage receptacles, unavailability of community storage receptacles and long distance discourages dumping at site. Issues of none re-use of waste in most households contributes significantly to massive waste generation of which less is collected by private service providers and the youth i.e. only a third of waste is collected.

Consequently, the non-availability of land properly selected and demarcated for use as dump site resulted in all manner of improper disposal , inhabitants still practice improper disposal from nearby bush to open dumps due to lack of enforcement of regulatory policies and programmes irrespective of income levels. And lastly, the need to improve public awareness of, and community participation in, waste management has been widely recognized by researchers as necessary to create sustainable waste systems and to promote environmental citizenship amongst community members (Lumbreras Martín and Fernández García, 2014). Typically, people are more likely to participate in waste management activities, for example recycling, when they observe others in their vicinity recycling. In developing countries recycling programs are rare, so wealthier members of the country rely on informal recyclers as the behavior norm (O‘Connell, 2011). The results of a study done in Malaysia by Aini and colleagues (2002) indicated that, in order to overcome the plastic waste crisis, the ―conscience of the individual needs to be raised through environmental awareness and concern, inculcation of sustainable consumption practices and education on waste management.‖ Environmental awareness and knowledge about environmental conservation were found to affect recycling attitude positively but positive attitude may not have resulted in recycling if knowledge about it was poor (Aini et al., 2002), so waste managers need to take steps to help align the information presented to the public with the knowledge these individuals already have.


Notwithstanding the general problem with waste management at the household and community level and its impact for the entire Ward, solutions to these problems are very real and achievable. To this end, the study makes the following recommendations;

Recommendations for policy;

No existing bylaws on plastic waste management in the study which is a worrisome. Clear bylaws should be enacted and stiffer penalties to regulate the dire situation that is present in Plastic waste. A good example that happened recently was; In the Gazette notice No. 2356, of 28th February, 2023, The Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources while exercising powers conferred under section 3 and 86 of the Environmental Management and Co-ordination Act (EMCA Cap 387), notified the public that with effect from six months from the date of the notice, banned the use, manufacture and importation of all plastic bags used for commercial and household packaging. Such a law clearly demonstrates that there is still some hope for being optimistic of our environment and doing something that is right in our conscious which will benefit everyone now and in future generations to emulate the same and rise the hope of protecting our environment and its importance.

No Public Health Officer in the study area, the nearest public health office is in the Kajiado which is far. There needs to be a public health officer within the study area.

The need to improve public awareness of, and community participation in, waste management has been widely recognized by researchers as necessary to create sustainable waste systems and to promote environmental citizenship amongst community members.

 Recommendation for Future Research;

The Case for Motivation; Poverty levels in Nigeria are 44-48% (living below a dollar a day). 60% of population in urban/peri-urban areas live in Informal settlements. With one in five youth below 25 unemployed, an efficient waste management value chain would be the miracle cure for waste management at the Micro level create jobs, manage waste. This resonates within the study area, quite a number of youths will get employed through this process.

Refuse Defined Fuel; Most research have been done on composting as a solution for organic plastic waste however, toxic organic waste that cannot be used as organic fertilizer but instead can be used to make excellent raw material for charcoal briquettes.

Going Micro; With the Kampala example in chapter two of the study. Dumping in the study area is on a micro level on illegal dumpsites. Why fight the prevailing mentality? Why not process and manage at the micro level? Push un-recyclables higher up to the landfills (reduced tonnage, reduced transport costs, reduced landfills).

Going Tech; Transport accounts for a large portion of garbage disposal costs. Kwara state has tested route optimization using geolocation and big data to reduce garbage runs and transport costs. How about using the geo-location and big data to optimize the entire garbage value chain? A view of the bigger picture always presents better opportunities.

At the moment in reference to county integrated development plan 2013-2023 (GOK,2013), there are well elaborated plans that up to date no progress has been done so far, some of the plans are in relation to the construction of sewage system, better dumpsites of which no further actions have taken forth. The residents of the county especially Plastic waste are waiting to see if anything will be done. Therefore this study recommends that such plans need not to be on paper but rather evidence of actions done for the betterment of the county at large.

The development of a properly engineered landfill site at a suitable location as the current location encourages indiscriminate waste disposal as a result of distance and cost.

The allocation of skips should be based on the populace and not the size of an area as most researchers prove a strong positive correlation between waste generated and population particularly within the area. This is in reference to both Households and in the central business department whereby it will control the culture of littering and create a positive consciousness concerning waste.

Lastly, waste segregation would encourage reuse and facilitate recycling and more importantly reduce the volume of waste that is transported to final disposal site.


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