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Waste is defined as materials of solid or semi solid character that the possessor no longer considers of sufficient value to retain (Gilpin, 1976).The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation ( 2007 ) also defined solid wastes in simple words as any discarded (abandoned or considered waste-like) materials. There are different types of waste: municipal waste (including household and commercial waste), industrial waste (including manufacturing), hazardous waste, construction and demolition waste, mining waste, waste from electrical and electronic equipments, biodegradable municipal waste, packaging waste, and agricultural waste. Solid wastes can be solid, liquid, and semi-solid or containerized gaseous material. Also, there are various sources of waste: residential, industrial, commercial, institutional, construction and demolition waste; municipal services manufacturing process, agriculture. Municipal solid waste (MSW) is defined to include refuse from households, nonhazardous solid waste from industrial, commercial and institutional establishments (including hospitals), market waste, yard waste, and street sweepings. MSW is defined by Cointreau (1982) as non-air and sewage emissions created within and disposed of by a municipality, including household garbage, commercial refuse, construction and demolition debris, dead animals, and abandoned vehicles. Municipal solid waste is generally made up of paper, vegetable matter, plastics, metals, textiles, rubber, and glass (USEPA, 2002).


 The solid waste management problem in Nigerian cities is becoming more alarming. The volume and range of solid wastes generated daily in Nigeria has been  increasing within the last few years. This is mainly due to the high population growth, urbanization, industrialization and general economic growth (Ogwueleka, 2004). Cities are regarded as the most efficient agents of production (Hardoy, Mitlin and Satherthwaite, 2001). This population increase compounds the problems of solid waste management. Worse still, government agencies responsible for managing solid wastes, especially in urban areas are either nonexistent or ineffective. Urban land use becomes complex as the city grows in population and physical size and so does the solid waste generation increase in volume and varieties. Urban land uses vary from residential, commercial, industrial, institutional; and others, with each category generating its own peculiar type of solid waste. However, residential land use constitutes the single most important generator of solid waste in Nigeria urban areas (Adegoke, 1990). Because of the complexity of the household wastes, the socioeconomic structure of the urban population becomes a major determinant of the spatial structure of solid waste problems in our cities. Uwadiegwu (2003) in a study noted that the quantity of municipal solid waste produced depends upon the living standard of the residents, urbanization and industrialization. Okoye (2004) identified household size, income level, level of technological advancement and socio-economic status as factors that affect the quantity of solid waste generation, but however, noted that a single factor may not on its own constitutes a difference in the quantity of waste generated by a household. Afon (2005), in a study of waste generation in Oyo State, Nigeria, discovered that as education, income and social status increase, per capita waste generation declines. This, he explained is partly influenced by the differences in employment/livelihood pattern in the area. On the main 3 cause of solid waste crises in Nigeria, Igbodobe and Anyata (2009) identify the problems of insufficient available data, funding, poor understanding of solid waste management and residents‘ attitude. It is common for most of the solid waste generated in urban areas to be collected and dumped indiscriminately within or on sites outside the city without site preparation. Sule, (2001), however, observes that the type of waste disposal method adopted in any particular area depends largely on the prevailing local conditions such as availability of open space, accessibility and attitude of the people. From a global perspective Ali et al (1999) reiterates that disposal practice vary from city to city and country to country. As a panacea, Dung-Gwon and Magaji (2007) stressed that enforcement of waste management legislation is required as a proper policy and planning framework for waste management. Urbanization directly contributes to waste generation, and unscientific waste handling causes health hazards and urban environment degradation. Nigeria has undergone a rapid urbanization during the past fifty years. The numbers of urban dwellers are expected to double between 1987 and 2015 (Ogwueleka, 2004). Urbanization implies the expansion of slum areas and the creation of new ones. Population growth intensifies the pressure on urban infrastructure in many cities in Nigeria that are already overburdened with the provision of urban services. Most cities lack the resources to meet the demand for services such as water, sanitation and solid waste management. The insufficiency of services results in a deterioration of the urban environment in the form of air, water and land pollution that poses risks to human health and the environment. Many municipalities see solid waste management as a problem of equipment, particularly how to obtain and maintain technologically advanced  compactor  trucks, hydraulic−compressor containers, and transportable containers and transport vehicles. In developing countries, with insufficient technical services, spare parts and maintenance budgets, when such technically sophisticated equipment breaks down, the entire system fails. The waste generated by a community reflects its way of life, its wealth and its culture. Some communities use and discard great quantities of paper, others throw organic materials away. Restaurants dispose of quantities of food that is still fresh but however, it might be very valuable to the owner of animals. Thus, what is waste to one person might be a valuable resource for others.

 Solid waste disposal is the disposal of normally solid or semisolid materials, resulting from human and animal activities that are useless, unwanted, or hazardous. Solid wastes typically may be classified as garbage, rubbish, ashes, large wastes, dead animals, sewage treatment solids, industrial waste, mining waste and agricultural wastes. Municipal solid waste disposal is a major concern in developing countries like Nigeria as high poverty, population growth, and high urbanization rates combine with ineffectual and under-funded governments to hamper efficient management of wastes (Cointreau 1982, Doan 1998). In most cities and large towns in Nigeria, solid waste is not only heaped in huge quantities on refuse dumps but also thrown and made to lie around in piles in the street and in small illegal dump on any piece of unused land. Most third world countries have worst cases than industrialised countries which have the money and technical know now and public attitudes to control and manage their waste to some degree. The common waste disposal methods are Sanitary landfill which is the disposal of waste material or refuse by burying it in natural or excavated holes, depressions, incineration; burning the refuse to ashes. There is also the compost heaps where the refuse is left to degrade by aerobic micro organism and its used as fertilizer, then the resource recovery, a process of recovering energy and reusable materials from solid waste before decomposition or landfill. The resources also goes further to be utilized by the principle of 3Rs (reduce, reuse and recycle) (Taiwo, 2011). Considerable percentage of urban waste in Nigeria is deposited on either the roads, or roadsides, unapproved dumpsites, in waterways drainage system, or in open sites, which adversely affect environmental friendliness. In fact, solid waste poses various threats to public health and adversely affects flora and fauna as well as the environment especially when it is not appropriately collected and disposed (Geraldu, 1995). Thus, the adjacent areas including high ways, farmlands, forest plantation, etc, are encroached upon which has a toll on biodiversity conservation (Hardy and Seatterwaite, 1992). Municipal solid waste management (MSWM) refers to the collection, transfer, treatment, recycling, resources recovery and disposal of solid waste in urban areas. The goals of municipal solid waste management are to promote the quality of the urban environment, generate employment and income, and protect environmental health and support the efficiency and productivity of the economy. The volume of solid waste being generated continues to increase at a faster rate than the ability of the agencies to improve on the financial and technical resources needed to parallel this growth. Per capita rate of MSW production in Nigeria is about 49million kg per year (Cyget, 2002; Aboyade, 2004) and the main components of these wastes are organic materials, paper, plastics/rubbers, textiles, and metals (Ojolo, 2004). According to All Sites Engineering (Ogwueleka, 2009), 320kg of waste is generated per month in  Kaduna state. The main purpose of solid waste management is to minimize the adverse effects on the environment. The steps involved are collection, disposal and utilization of solid waste. Collection of waste includes gathering the waste, transporting it to a centralized location, and then moving it to the site for disposal. The collected waste is then separated into hazardous and non-hazardous materials. Before the final disposal of the solid wastes, it is processed to recover the usable resources and to improve the efficiency of the solid waste disposal system. The main processing technologies are compaction, incineration, and manual separation. The appropriate solid waste disposal method has to be selected, keeping in view the objectives of economic viability and not constituting a health hazard. It should also not cause adverse environmental effects or result in unpleasant sight, odour and noise. Improper handling of the solid waste is a health hazard for the workers who come in contact with the waste. The environment is also affected in that if solid wastes are not treated properly, decomposition and putrefaction may take place, causing land and water pollution when the waste products percolate down into the underground water resources. The organic solid waste during decomposition may generate obnoxious odours. Stray dogs and birds may sometimes invade garbage heaps and may spread it over the neighbourhood causing unhygienic and unhealthy surroundings. Municipal solid waste management is a major responsibility of State and Local Government environmental agencies. The agencies are charged with the responsibility of handling, employing and disposing of solid waste generated. The State agencies generate fund from subvention from state governments and internally generate revenue through sanitary levy and  stringent regulations with heavy penalties for offenders of illegal dumping and littering of refuse along streets (Ogwueleka, 2003). But despite all the efforts and initiatives, the management of waste continue to pose different challenges. Managing waste in Nigeria is a problem due to many factors, including lack of adequate funding and excessive population, lack of trained / professional waste managers, and lack of effective monitoring and control. Also, at the core of the problems of solid waste management are the absence of adequate policies, enabling legislation, and an environmentally stimulated and enlightened public. Government policies on the environment are piecemeal where they exist and are poorly implemented. Public enlightenment programs lacked the needed coverage, intensity, and continuity to correct the apathetic public attitude towards the environment. Up to now the activities of the State environmental agencies have been hampered by poor funding, inadequate facilities and human resources, inappropriate technology, and an inequitable taxation system. Successful solid waste management in Nigeria will require a holistic program that will integrate all the technical, economic, social, cultural, and psychological factors that are often ignored in solid waste programs.


 Solid waste are characterize on the basis of following parameters

 · Their sources

 · By the types of wastes produced

 · By generation rates and composition.

The term solid waste means materials such as: household garbage, food wastes, yard wastes, and demolition or construction debris. It also includes discarded items like household appliances, furniture, scrap metal, machinery, car parts and abandoned or junk vehicles.

Household solid waste is one of the most difficult sources of solid waste to manage because of its diverse range of composite materials. A substantial portion is made up of garbage, a term for the waste matter that arises from the preparation, and consumption of food and consists of waste food, vegetable peelings and other organic matter. Other components of household solid waste include plastics, paper, glass, textiles, cellophane, metals and some hazardous waste from household products such as paint, garden pesticides, pharmaceuticals, fluorescent tubes, personal care products, batteries containing heavy metals and discarded wood treated with dangerous substances such as anti-fungal and anti-termite chemicals.

Since the beginning, mankind has been generating waste, be it the bones and other parts of animals they slaughter for their food or the wood they cut to make their carts. With the progress of civilization, the waste generated became of a more complex nature. At the end of the 19th century the industrial revolution saw the rise of the world of consumers. Not only did the air get more and more polluted but the earth itself became more polluted with the generation of non-biodegradable solid waste. The increase in population and urbanization was also largely responsible for the increase in solid waste. In Nigeria, rapid urbanization, rural-urban migration, little or no town planning efforts coupled with attitudinal irresponsibility, lack of political will, ineptitude and graft have independently and collectively created environmental challenge in Nigeria resulting to human or solid waste decorating streets and public space everywhere in Nigeria.

In view of the above, it is a known fact that every household generates garbage or waste day in and day out. Items that we no longer need or do not have any further use for fall in the category of waste. There are different types of solid waste depending on their source.

Types of Solid Waste
Solid waste can be classified into three different types depending on their source, which include:
a)Household waste,  generally classified as municipal waste,
b)Industrial waste, as hazardous waste, and
c)Biomedical waste or hospital waste, as infectious waste.

Municipal Solid Waste (Household Waste):
Municipal solid wastes consist of day-to-day consumed and discarded items such as household waste (food wastes), containers, product packaging and other miscellaneous like residential, commercial, electronic wastes, institutional and industries sources, construction and demolition debris, sanitation residue, and waste from streets.
This garbage is generated mainly from residential and commercial complexes. With rising urbanization and change in lifestyle and food habits, the amount of municipal solid waste has been increasing rapidly and its composition changing. More than 25% of the municipal solid waste is not collected at all; 70% of the Nigerian cities lack adequate capacity to transport it and there are no sanitary landfills to dispose of the waste. The existing landfills are neither well equipped nor well managed and are not lined properly to protect against contamination of soil and groundwater.

Hazardous Waste (Industrial Waste):
Industrial and hospital wastes are considered hazardous as they contain toxic substances. Certain types of household wastes are also hazardous. Hazardous wastes could be highly toxic to humans, animals, and plants; corrosive, highly inflammable, or explosive; and could react when exposed to certain things e.g. gases. Household wastes that can be categorized as hazardous waste include old batteries, shoe polish, paint tins, old medicines, and medicine bottles.
Hospital wastes contaminated by chemicals used in hospitals are considered hazardous. These chemicals include formaldehyde and phenols, which are used as disinfectants, and mercury, which is used in thermometers or equipment that measure blood pressure. Most hospitals in Nigeria do not have proper disposal facilities for these hazardous wastes.

In the industrial sector, the major generators of hazardous waste are the metal, chemical, paper, pesticide, dye, refining, and rubber goods industries. Direct exposure to chemicals in hazardous waste such as mercury and cyanide can be fatal.

Hospital Waste (Infectious Waste):
Hospital waste is generated during the diagnosis, treatment, or immunization of human beings or animals or in research activities in these fields or in the production or testing of biologicals. It may include wastes like sharps, soiled waste, disposables, anatomical waste, cultures, discarded medicines, chemical wastes, etc. These are in the form of disposable syringes, swabs, bandages, body fluids, human excreta, etc.
This waste is highly infectious and can be a serious threat to human health if not managed in a scientific and discriminate manner. It has been roughly estimated that of the 4 kg of waste generated in a hospital at least 1 kg would be infected.
Surveys carried out by various agencies show that the health care establishments in the developing countries are not giving due attention to their waste management. After the notification of the Bio-medical Waste (Handling and Management) Rules, many of the larger hospitals have either installed the treatment facilities or are in the process of doing so.


Modernization with progress has had its share of disadvantages and one of the main aspects of concern is the pollution it is causing to the earth – be it land, air, and water. With increase in the global population and the rising demand for food and other essentials, there has been a rise in the amount of waste being generated daily by each household. This waste is ultimately thrown into municipal waste collection centres from where it is collected by the area municipalities to be further thrown into the landfills and dumps. However, either due to resource crunch or inefficient infrastructure, not all of this waste gets collected and transported to the final dumpsites. If at this stage the management and disposal is improperly done, it can cause serious impacts on human health and problems to the surrounding environment.
Wastes that are not properly managed, especially excreta and other liquid and solid waste from households and the community, are a serious health hazard and 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 a rise in the health problems.

Electronic waste is another cause responsible for ill health (e-waste) and other hazardous left over. Electronic waste refers to end of-life electronic products including computers, printers, photocopy machines, television sets, mobile phones and toys which are made of sophisticated blend of plastics, metals, among other materials. UNEP (2005) observed that the number of electronic devices used per capita at the global scale is growing at a rate of about 4% and will continue to increase as it is becoming the fastest waste stream worldwide.

The ever-increasing consumption of resources results in huge amounts of solid wastes from industrial and domestic activities, posed significant threats to human health. However, the ills of inappropriately disposed municipal solid wastes are quite numerous to be mentioned. Health deterioration, accidents, flood occurrences, and environmental pressures are just a few of the negative effects.

In many developing countries, solid waste disposal sites are found on the outskirts of urban areas. These areas become children’s sources of contamination due to the incubation and proliferation of flies, mosquitoes, and rodents. They, in turn, are disease transmitters that affect population’s health, which has its organic defenses in a formative and creative state. The said situation produces gastrointestinal, dermatological, respiratory, genetic, and several other kinds of diseases.

Certain chemicals if released untreated, e.g. cyanides, mercury, and polychlorinated biphenyls are highly toxic and exposure can lead to disease or death. Some studies have detected high incidence of cancer in residents exposed to hazardous waste. Many studies have been carried out in various parts of the world to establish a connection between health and hazardous waste.


The aim of this research is to assess the functionality of the municipal solid waste management structures in Lagos municipal. The study has the following objectives, to:

 1. Characterize  the current municipal solid waste (quantity and characteristics) in the study area.

2. Assess the functionality of the existing institutional structure(s) for solid waste management in the study area.

3. To create awareness on the effect of improper waste management in Lagos municipal

4. To indentify problem militating against effective waste management system in Lagos municipal

5. Identify solutions to improper  waste management system in Lagos municipal


1.What is the level of awareness on the effect of improper waste management in Lagos municipal?

2.What are the problems militating against improper management of solid waste in Lagos municipal?

3. What is the role of government in managing  solid waste in Lagos municipal?

4.What are the possible diseases cause by improper waste disposal?


The important of this research is to create awareness on the proper dumping of refuse in refuse site and also illegal dumping of refuse could lead to outcome of several diseases which will be harmful to the health.

This study will be important to resident in the study area on proper dumping of refuse for healthy living and to industries in commercial areas of Lagos.

The study will also be important to Lagos State Waste Management Board on creating awareness on proper dumping of solid waste to keep the environment clean and maintain good health conditions


This study focused majorly selected locations; Ikeja and Badagry. Other final dump sites such as the ones situated in Ebutte metta , Ajegule,Yaba and mushin areas  were also looked into and a better way of managing them will be recommended. Data on the characteristics of wastes of these dumpsites were collected. The volume of dirt in Lagos  state  is overwhelming. The roads and drainages are littered with different kinds of waste like carrier bags (paper and plastic; which is like 11 80% of the wastes in Lagos municipal) ,rags, yard sweepings, charcoals, pieces of wood, cans of food and drinks alike, sachet water bags, cattle and human faeces to mention but a few.

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