Solid Waste Management Problems in Secondary Schools in Ibadan, Nigeria

By Ana, G. R. E. E.; Oloruntoba, E. O. et al. | Journal of Environmental Health, September 2011 | Go to article overview

Solid Waste Management Problems in Secondary Schools in Ibadan, Nigeria


Ana, G. R. E. E., Oloruntoba, E. O., Shendell, D., Elemile, O. O., Benjamin, O. R., Sridhar, M. K. C., Journal of Environmental Health


Introduction

Solid waste is an unavoidable by-product of human activities. Solid waste may be regarded as any reject material resulting from domestic activity and industrial operations for which there is no economic demand and thus must be disposed (Sridhar, 1998). Economic development, urbanization, and improved living standards in cities increase the quantity and complexity of generated municipal solid waste (MSW). If accumulated, MSW leads to degradation of an urban environment, stresses natural resources, and leads to health issues (Central Pollution Control Board [CPCB], 2000).

Cities worldwide are facing higher level of pollution to multiple environmental media. The situation in less-developed countries (LDCs) is more acute, partly caused by inadequate provision of basic services like sanitation facilities, transport infrastructure, and waste collection (United Nations Center for Human Settlements, 2001). Municipal corporations of LDCs are not able to handle the increasing quantity of MSW, which leads to uncollected MSW on roads and in other public places.

From the days of primitive society, humans and animals have used the resources of the earth to support and to dispose of wastes. Historically, the disposal of human and other wastes did not pose a significant problem because the population was relatively small and the land available for assimilation of waste was relatively large (Tchobanoglous, Theisen, & Vigil, 1977). The present day problem, however, has reached a great proportion in LDCs including Nigeria.

In Nigeria, the rate of generation of solid wastes increases by the day with increases in urban populations. An estimated 44 pounds (20 kilograms) of MSW is generated per capita per year in Nigeria (Olafusi, 2004). The majority of this is collected and dumped on the surface of the ground, and is mostly transferred from one location to the other rather than being properly disposed of, a practice known to pose serious health hazards to the community (Nigerian Environmental Action Study Team, 1989). Similarly, Mabogunje (1980) and Filani (1987) documented how severe unsanitary conditions characterized urban centers. Inadequate provisions exist for dealing with MSW, which leads to air and water pollution.

Every school generates waste arising from routine activities such as classwork, sweeping, serving of food, and bush cutting. The common types of solid wastes found in various schools in LDC communities include paper, grass, nylon (in the manufacture of pure water bags and biscuits, lollypops, ice cream, and sweet or candy wrappers), sugar cane, maize or corn cobs, and groundnut shells (Wahab, 2003). Other forms of wastes may also be found on school premises, and these may not have even been generated directly by pupils and teachers.

Economic development, urbanization, improved living standards in cities, and increase in enrollments of schoolchildren due to government policies in LDCs increase the quantity and complexity of generated solid waste in schools. If accumulated, this class of MSW may lead to degradation of the urban environment, stresses on limited natural resources, and may lead to various health issues (CPCB, 2000). Globally, most public schools are facing a high level of pollution. The situation in LDCs such as Nigeria is more acute, partly because of the lack of adequate solid waste disposal facilities (Fajehisan, 1998).

The problems associated with the disposal of wastes in public places including schools are numerous and they include littering of food remains and other discarded materials. This can lead to the breeding of rats and other vectors of public health importance, i.e., biological agents of exposure (Sridhar & Ojediran, 1983). Rats can also destroy school materials such as paper and valuable documents. The U.S Public Health Service, for example, published results tracing the relationship of 22 human diseases to improper solid waste management (Mabogunje, 1968). …

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