1.1 Background to the Study
Lagos State, Nigeria, the commercial centre of West Africa from which Kosofe is seriously facing the challenge of poor waste from their environments. These strategic centres of investment for stakeholders, beauty, peace and security are being partially or totally taken over by the messy nature of over flowing dumps, unattended heaps of poor wastes coming from household or domestic or kitchen sources, markets, shopping and business centres. Kosofe Local Government Area environmental officials/waste contractors appear unable to combat unlawful dumping of wastes on the streets and drainages. Poor refuse comprise all the waste products arising from human and animal activities which are considered solid and regarded as useless or unwanted. It may also include are by- products of process lines or materials that may be required by law to be disposed of (Okecha, 2000).
Refuse dumping has become a menace the Kosofe Area of Lagos State is currently battling with. It is no longer a doubt that the city is inundated with the problems of un-cleared solid wastes all around streets. Therefore, urban residents are often confronted with the hazardous effects to their collective health and safety. The hue and cry over the health consequences of exposed and fermenting rubbish have not been quantified, although their impact is noticeable. A United Nations Report (August 2004) noted with regret that while developing countries like Nigeria are improving access to clean drinking water they are falling behind on sanitation goals (Uwaegbelun, 2004). This is what is currently happening not only in Kosofe alone but also in the major areas of the State like Lagos Island, Lagos Mainland, Badagry, Ikorodu and the likes. At one of its summit in 2004, the World Health Organization and the United Nations International Children Education Fund in a joint report stated that: “about 2.4 billion people will likely face the risk of needless disease and death by the year 2015 because of bad sanitation”. The report also noted that bad sanitation – decaying or nonexistent sewage system and toilets fuels the spread of diseases like cholera and basic illness like diarrhoea, which kills a child every 21 seconds.
Poor waste management is considered to be a process of collecting, storing, treatment and disposal of solid wastes in such a way that they are less harmful to humans, plants, animals, the ecology and the environment generally. This, however, can be achieved by proper planning of land use in a way that it will bring comfort to humans, plants, animals and the immediate environment. The unhealthy disposal of solid waste is one of the greatest problems that the developing countries are currently facing (Kofoworola, 2007). It is a challenge recognized globally by all countries at the 1992 Conference on Environment and Development, and identified as a major obstacle towards sustainability of the environment (UNCED, 1992). Thus, individual/group awareness and attitude towards solid waste generation and disposal is important in the effort to combat the current solid waste management challenges in some major cities in Nigeria most especially, Kosofe, Lagos State. It is on this note that this study seeks to investigate the perceived causes of indiscriminate dumping of refuse among the resident of Kosofe Local Government Area of Lagos State, Nigeria.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Indiscriminate waste disposal is no doubt a challenge and a national disgrace to Nigeria particularly, Kosofe Local Government Area of Lagos State where heaps of refuse litter most parts of the city. Huge percentage of solid wastes generated in Kosofe Local Government Area are either deposited on the roads, or road sides, unapproved dump sites, in water ways (drainage system), or in open sites which has adverse effects on the environment. Actually, solid waste is capable of causing various public health challenges and adversely affects the environment most especially when it is not properly collected and disposed (Geraldu, 1995). The poor state of solid waste management in Kosofe Local Government Area is caused by lack of proper planning of the environment, inadequate facilities, poor funding, and poor implementation of policies as well as wrong lifestyle of the people in Kosofe Local Government Area. According to Egunjobi (1986), the issue of effective solid waste management comes from poor social services delivery efforts which can obviously result to poor delays in solid waste clearance. It may vary from broken down machinery, non-maintenance of dumpsters to poorly maintained urban streets and roads and irregularities in the designation of sanitary landfill sites. Nigerians seem to be permanently adhered to dirt. They are not bothered with the saying ‘cleanliness is next to godliness’. This is evident in their usual indiscriminate discharge of garbage into drains and at times on the highways. Studies have shown that household contribute to about half of the solid wastes generated, that is, by weight in the cities like Lagos. It has also been noted that solid waste management has received considerable attention not only in Lagos State but throughout the whole country.
In spite of this laudable attention by the government of Lagos State through the help of Vision Scape in the collection, disposal processing, treatment, recycling and utilization have defied solution as a result of the attitude of some Nigerians not minding the importance of land use planning on how waste management can be controlled in Nigeria. It is believed that the poor planning of the environment, refuse disposal habit of the people, corruption, work attitude, inadequate plants and equipment among others are the major factors militating against effective solid waste management in Kosofe Local Government Area of Lagos State and in Nigeria as a whole. The major effects of poor solid waste management in Nigeria include: poor land use planning, non-obedient to the law of the land, blocked drains, flooding, erosion, traffic congestion, soil pollution and air pollution. Therefore, this study shall seek to investigate the perceived causes of indiscriminate dumping of refuse among the resident of Kosofe Local Government Area of Lagos State, Nigeria.
1.3 Research Objectives
The main objective of this study is to investigate the perceived causes of indiscriminate dumping of refuse among the resident of Kosofe Local Government Area of Lagos State, Nigeria. However, the specific objectives of the study are:
i) To determine the effects of indiscriminate dumping of refuse on environment in Nigeria
ii) To ascertain the population that are exposed to pollution from waste management
iii) To identify the challenges facing waste management in Kosofe Local Government Area of Lagos State
1.4 Research Questions
This research will be carried out to answer the following research questions:
i) What are the health effects of indiscriminate dumping of refuse on environment in Nigeria?
ii) What are the the population that are exposed to pollution from waste management?
iii) What are the challenges facing waste management in Kosofe Local Government Area of Lagos State?
1.5 Research Hypotheses
The followings are the research hypotheses to be tested in this study:
i) There is a significant relationship between indiscriminate dumping of refuse and the existence of unplanned settlements in Kosofe Local Government Area of Lagos State
ii) There is a significant correlation between inadequate collection of wastes and the existence of unplanned settlements in Kosofe Local Government Area of Lagos State
1.6 Significance of the Study
This study investigates the perceived causes of indiscriminate dumping of refuse among the resident of Kosofe Local Government Area of Lagos State, Nigeria and therefore will be beneficial to the government at both Federal and State levels through their various ministries like Ministry of Environment, Education, Health and Information. It will be beneficial for these ministries in the area of policy formulation, most especially in the area of educating public in the schools and out of school. It will help them when formulating laws that will promote human health and protect the environment. The citizenry will also benefit greatly from this study, as the study will reveal how a person’s carefree attitude about the environment can be costly not only to himself but to others. Non-governmental in the areas of health and environment will also find this study beneficial. This study will guide them in the areas of production and distribution of educational materials to the public.
1.7 Scope of the Study
The study investigates the perceived causes of indiscriminate dumping of refuse among the resident of Kosofe Local Government Area of Lagos State, Nigeria. The study intends to investigate the people’s inability to maintain a sanitarily clean environment and to emphasize the link between good health and clean environment. Therefore, the geographical scope of the study is Kosofe Local Government Area of Lagos State.
1.8 Limitation of the Study
The researcher encountered some challenges in the course of carrying out the field work and these challenges were the constraints that worked against the optimal realization of what the researcher sets out to achieve. These challenges include:
Cost Limitation: There was a cost limitation. This means that the researcher could not offer any gift or monetary incentives for the respondents to answer the questionnaire. This might have resulted in certain prospective respondents choosing not to respond to the questionnaire. This might not have created a motivation among respondents not to take a chance to give opinions.
1.9 Definition of Terms
The following terms were used during the cause of the study.
Environment: surroundings of man that support life
Environmental health: the activity of trying to prevent or protect against things that might harm people’s health in the places where they work and live.
Health: the ability of a biological system to acquire, convert, allocate, distribute, and utilize energy with maximum efficiency.
Waste: any substance which is discarded after primary use, or is worthless, defective and of no use. Examples include municipal solid waste (household trash/refuse), hazardous waste, wastewater (such as sewage, which contains bodily wastes (faeces and urine) and surface runoff), radioactive waste, and others.
Waste management: all the activities and actions required to manage waste from its inception to its final disposal.