KNOWLEDGE AND ATTITUDE OF IMPROPER WASTE DISPOSAL ON PUBLIC HEALTH IN NIGERIA
Many Nigerian communities are faced with issues of solid waste disposal and health risks that undermine efforts towards ensuring a clean environment and good health for all. This research focuses on solid waste disposal and health issues among residents in the Nigerian community. Questionnaires, observation and unstructured interview guide were the methods employed for data collection using a sample size of 148 respondents. The systematic sampling technique was used to arrive at the sample size for the selected respondents. Percentages, frequency charts, photographs (Figures), cross tabulation and chi-square tests, with the aid of Statistical Product for Service Solution (SPSS) were the tools used to analyze the data. The shared experiences from residents showed that, issues of improper solid waste disposal have posed threat to health of residents. The cross tabulation and the chi-square tests on diseases contraction and distance of final disposal sites from the houses showed that, residents living closer to open dump sites have contracted related diseases such as malaria, skin infections among others as result of improper refuse disposal. The Environmental Health and Health department, and residents in the community are concerned and hoping a lasting strategy would be found to ensure a clean environment and good health for all. As result it was recommended that, there should be proper siting of final disposal sites to avoid pest and diseases proliferation, provision of more refuse containers and household waste bins for residents among others.
The research work is carried out due to the menace of improper solid waste management in Nigeria which causes, some specific health hazards that probably led to illnesses in the Community. Improper waste management causes various types of pollution; air, soil, thermal, radiation and water. Indiscriminate dumping of waste contaminates surface and ground water supplies (Ivi, 2014).
Solid waste can be defined as unwanted, or any discarded materials arising from human’s activities and which are not free flowing (Olorunda, Omonayajo, Aibor, 2012). According to Ovu (2015), solid waste management are measures taken to ensure that waste generated in the community/surroundings , industries, workplaces are well disposed of to its final stage in way that it will not pose hazards to man and his property.
Poor solid waste management has been a deadly practice and a problem to public health. It has attracted the interest of the government, non-governmental organization and the World Health Organization in general. The effect of improper solid waste management imposes danger on Man’s health. Indiscriminate and inappropriate domestic litter disposal habits as well as poor industrial waste disposal system have been identified and proved to be basic features in rural settlement.
Solid waste management is therefore an act of professional and skillful arrangement of human and material resources in the collection, storage, transportation, treatment and disposal of waste in such a way that it will not constitute risk and hazards to human and to his environment (Ovu 2015). In the early days, waste disposal did not pose difficulty as habitants were sparse and land was plentiful.
Waste disposal become problematic with the rise of towns and cities where large numbers of people started to congregate in relatively small area in pursuit of livelihoods (Sahfiul and Mansor, 2013). It can also lead to odour, nuisance, fly infestation, unsightliness, accident, breeding of vectors, poor aesthetic nature of the environment. These are all related to the practice of poor solid waste management. This can result in the loss of human resources needed in the development of the country (Freduah, 2014).
In the recent past, various methods have been employed in the management of waste generated by residents and industrial owners, these methods includes, burning, composting, controlled tipping, industrial incineration and recycling. The growth in population and urbanization accelerated by industrialization in most of our towns and cities (Unuary 2008). Waste management especially in Nigeria and other developing countries in Africa, is hydra-headed. It poses a multi-dimensional problem ranging from collection to disposal owing to the level of orientation of the generators of waste and the technological advancement of the agencies saddled with the responsibility of managing waste (Ivi, 2014).
A World Bank  report on the state of solid waste around the world estimates that, the amount of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) will rise from the current 1.3 billion tonnes per year to 2.2 billion tonnes per year by 2025, with much of the increase coming from rapidly growing cities in developing countries. Low income countries are also expected to generate 213 million tonnes of solid waste a day with the population rising to 676 million by 2025. Lower Middle Income ones are also projected to generate 956 million tonnes of solid waste per day with a population of 2.08 billion. Waste generation will hit 360 million tonnes per day by 2025 in Upper Middle Income countries with expected population of 619 million. For High Income nations, waste generation a day by 2025 will reach 686 million tones and population at 912 million. The report further states that Municipal solid waste challenges are going to be enormous or even greater than the challenges we are facing with climate change . Household waste in Africa contains food waste (biodegradable/ compostable), sand, gravel, paper, plastic, metals (example aluminium) and glass (the last four components are recoverable, reusable and recyclable). Plastic is a major nuisance in municipal solid waste which degrades the environment, clogs drains and causes flooding in the rainy season. Waste is typically disposed of without consideration for environmental and human health impacts, leading to its accumulation in cities, towns and uncontrolled dumpsites .
Waste handlers and waste pickers are especially vulnerable and may also become vectors, contracting and transmitting diseases when human or animal excreta or medical wastes are in the waste stream. Improperly disposed solid waste left unattended to, can contaminate ground and surface water and also create greenhouse gas emissions and other air pollutants. Garbage is often burned in residential areas to reduce volume and uncover metals. Burning creates thick smoke that contains carbon monoxide, soot and nitrogen oxides, all of which are hazardous to human health and degrade urban air quality Begum (2012). Uncollected wastes often clog drains and cause the stagnation of water, the breeding of mosquitoes or the contamination of water bodies from which the population normally takes water for consumption, cooking and cleaning. In tropical countries, the high temperatures and humid conditions accelerate degradation, increase the amount of leachate and directly affect the surrounding ecosystems by penetrating the soil and contaminating groundwater .
The affluent lifestyle brought about by modernization and development aggravates the problem of improper solid waste disposal on health. While solid waste issues are not a novelty, uncoordinated disposal and its consequences if overlooked however can wreck the health and existence of any well-meaning people. Uncollected solid waste blocks drains, and causes flooding and subsequent spread of water- borne diseases. Solid waste that is not properly disposed of, especially excreta and other refuse from households and the community, are a serious health hazard and which can lead to the spread of infectious diseases. Unattended waste lying around attracts flies, rats, and other creatures that in turn spread disease. This leads to unhygienic conditions and thereby leading to a rise in the health problems. Other high-risk group includes population living close to a waste dump and those whose water supply gets contaminated .
Begum  also argues that, uncollected solid waste also increases risk of injury and infection and that, annual floods in Eastern and Western parts of Africa, and Indian cities are blamed, at least in part, on plastic bags blocking drains. UN-Habitat health data also show that diarrhea and acute respiratory infections are significantly higher for children living in households where solid waste is dumped, or burned in the yard, compared to households in the same cities that receive a regular waste collection service .
Improper solid waste disposal activities have diverse effects ranging from health, environment, and human life and property as different researchers espouse on the consequences of improper municipal solid waste disposal. Rotten organic materials pose great public health risks, including serving as breeding grounds for disease vectors. “Improper solid waste disposal leads to substantial negative environmental impacts (for example, pollution of air, soil and water, and generation of greenhouse gases from landfills), and health and safety problems (such as diseases spread by insects and rodents attracted by garbage heaps, and diseases associated with different forms of pollution)”
Statement of the Problem
Solid waste disposal in Nigeria is a complex issue that has been a major feature on the priority of successive municipal chief executives and waste management groups. Generally, existing facilities including sanitary facility are inadequate to serve the people, the ever increasing volumes of solid waste generated in the Nigeria is overwhelming. Problems are encountered at all levels of waste management namely; poor network, different settlement structures making collection in some areas difficult, increasing waste quantities due to urbanization, inadequate and obsolete waste collection equipment. The situation creates a suitable environment for the breeding of disease vectors such as mosquitoes, flies, cockroaches and mice. In view of this, some of the inhabitants dispose of rubbish indiscriminately such as drainage channels, and the recent advent of polythene bags have even worsen the situation for waste management groups as they are seen everywhere in the city. Solid waste in the Sawaba, consist mainly of garbage generated from household food waste, plastics and containers. The community solid waste generated come in the forms of degradable and non-degradable and tends to be improperly discarded in the environment. It is against this background that this study seeks to verify this challenge and its implication for the health of residents.
Objectives o the study
The main objectives if this study is to investigate on Improper waste disposal on public health.
The study have the following specific objectives:
- To examine the current methods of solid waste disposal situation in Nigeria
- To investigate the awareness of the effects of poor refuse disposal and diseases contracted
- To analyze the effects of the solid waste on public health
- To understand the effects of mode of solid waste disposal on health of residents
- What are the current methods of solid waste disposal situation in Nigeria?
- Are there any awareness of the effects of poor refuse disposal and diseases contracted?
- What are the effects of the solid waste on public health ?
- What are the effects of mode of solid waste disposal on health of residents
Scope the study
This study is on improper waste disposal on public health. The scope of this study were limited to Lagos state .the researcher chooses Lagos state because of its proximity to elicit information from the respondents and also because it is among the state that is battling to halt improper waste disposal on public places.
Significances of the Study
This study is important or relevant in the following areas such as:
- To know the implication of improper solid waste management in the study area and its attendant effect on the health of the inhabitants and environment.
- The health condition of the inhabitants will be improved leading to accomplishment of the purpose or objectives.
- The study will also induce or elicit more research on the practice.
- It will awaken the Ministry of Environment to train and engage more qualified Environmental Health Officers on solid waste management programmes.
These terms are defined according to their contextual meaning or how they appear in the study and not necessarily their generally acceptable definitions:
SOLID WASTE: Can be defined as unwanted or any discarded materials arising from human’s activities and which are not free flowing.
WASTE MANAGEMENT: This refers to the measures taken to ensure that waste generated in the community/surrounding, industries, workplaces are well disposed of to its final stage in a way that will not pose hazard to man and his environment.
WASTE: This could be defined as useless or object that arises from the residential areas, industries, agricultural and livestock activities generated at a particular period of time to a particular individual/group of persons which may be important to another man.
HAZARD: Is a situation which can constitute risk or dangerous conditions within the working and living environment that have tendency of causing injury and accidents.
HEALTH: A state of complete physical, mental, social and spiritual well-being of an individual and not merely the absence of disease or infirmities.
HEALTH OFFICER: These include a medical officer of health, a health superintendent or environmental health officers or health inspectors or other person acting under the authority or person serving in the medical health department of the state or federal government or in the services of the local government.
NUISANCE: Any act, omission, place or thing which is injurious to the health of man and property.
SOLID WASTE DISPOSAL: The final placement of refuse that is not salvaged or recycled.
SANITATION: Control of physical factors in the human environment that could harm development, health or survival.
SANITARY LANDFILL: Is defined as a controlled method of disposing of waste by spreading them in layers compacting them with soil anytime the operation is performed in order to reduce environmental health nuisances.
SANITARY INSPECTION: Official visit carried out by a qualified and licenced E.H.O for the purpose of detecting and abating nuisances.
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH: This is defined as the control of all those factors in man’s physical environment which exercise or may exercise deleterious effects on man and his physical development, health and survival.
COMBUSTIBLE: These are waste materials that can be burn easily on exposure to fire e.g. cardboard paper, rags, leather and rubber.
NON-COMBUSTIBLE WASTE: These are waste materials that cannot be burnt easily when subjected to fire and cannot easily catch fire, e.g. broken bottle, block and cans etc.
SALVAGE: Utilization of waste material.
LEACHATE: A liquid that results from water collecting contaminants as it trickles through waste in dumps or landfill.
SCAVENGERS: Are waste pickers who involved in the activity of initial collection, purchase, and processing of recoverable material. They provide informal collection, recovering additional materials at the curve, dumps, and landfills and it helps in the reduction of the amount of solid waste to be disposed.
GARBAGE denotes waste resulting from growing, handling, preparation and consumption of food. It attracts and breeds flies and other insects and it emits odour.
RUBBISH comprises of combustible and non-combustible items such as paper, plastic, cans and glass while
INDUSTRIAL WASTE: are saw dust, paper and iron.
AGRICULTURAL WASTE: are wastes originating from agricultural products such as corn cubs, banana stub, skin and leaves.