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1.1.0 Background to the study

Solid waste can be defined as “any residue that is of no use in its current state to the people who caused it’’ (Khattak, Khan and Ahmad, 2009). Synonyms to solid waste are terms such as garbage, trash, refuse, and rubbish. Solid waste management refers to the collection, transfer, treatment, recycling, resource recovery and disposal of solid waste in urban areas (Ogwueleka, 2009). Human activities create waste, and it is the way these wastes are handled, stored, collected, and disposed of, that can pose risks to the environment and public health. The manners in which human beings dispose of their waste reflect the level of development of that society.

During the primitive society, waste was not a problem as land was plentiful and wastes generated were biodegradable (Ahmed and Ali, 2004). With urbanization and industrialization, urban centres witnessed influx of people, which brought about change in production and consumption resulting in the production of non-biodegradable waste which requires special management (Ajadike, 2001). In managing solid waste in developing countries, the interest is to protect the environment and public health, without recourse to urban development in relation to urban space to enhance site locations for waste collection and disposal. The inability of developing countries to plan for the high rate of solid waste generation, rapid urbanization and high population growth in relation to the accessibility of waste facilities have continued to bedevil recent programmes and policies for solid waste management.

Developed countries such as United State of America (U.S.A), United Kingdom, Switzerland and Germany have since around 1860’s strategized and planned their cities with appropriate solid waste management systems, and technology by allowing the private sector to  manage their wastes  (Ofodile, 2002, Rosenthal, 2005). The success story of the European countries in effective solid management is through the legal framework and programmes implementation, such as source reduction, recycling, composting, incineration and landfills (Wilson, 1996). A massive volume of solid waste is generated every day in the cities of developing countries and unfortunately, solid waste management deteriorates day by day due to inadequacies in handling the increasing rate of solid waste generation (Enajetullah and Hashmi, 2006).

According to Pierce and Turner (1994), ‘the systems of solid waste management in most developing countries are inefficient and ineffective’. Zurbrugg (2003) also a noted that one to two third of solid waste generated in developing countries is not collected. The result of the incapability of the waste management systems to effectively manage solid waste is the deterioration of the environment via air pollution, generation of greenhouse gases, ozone layer depletion, acid rain, vegetation depletion, water, and soil pollution (Visvanathan, 2006). In urban areas of developing countries, especially in the rapidly urbanizing cities of Nigeria, problems and issues of solid waste management are of immediate importance. The uncollected solid waste is often mixed with human excreta, clinical waste, and dumped indiscriminately in streets and drains, resulting in flood, breeding of insects, rodents, and vectors which spread diseases (Majumed and Karim, 2012).

Because of the increasing awareness of the adverse effect of poor solid waste management and some positive changes in economic circumstances, some African countries are beginning to put in place, policies, programmes and institutions to enhance environmental management, especially in municipal solid waste management at all levels (Olowameye, 1991). In Nigeria, the Federal Government showed its concern by establishing Federal Environmental Protection Agency (FEPA) in 1988, which was later upgraded in 1999 to the Federal Ministry of Environment, the various States and Local Government Areas also established their Sanitation Agencies. These moves however shows how grave the issues of environmental problems are, particularly solid waste management has become. The general urban scenery today exhibits the gradual takeover of virtually every available open space by refuse dumps, stagnated drainages and gutters, smoke-laden air, hence posing serious health hazard.

Similarly, Filani and Abumere (1996) observe that heaps of solid waste to say the least, disfigure the city image, and not only create an eye sore, but also pose tremendous health hazards. In Nigeria, the most suitable and sustainable measures of solid waste management and governance are still being debated. The inability of the state sanitation agencies to cope with effective management of solid waste in Nigerian cities including Jos-South LGA continues to pose serious challenges.

This state of consistent inability to effectively manage solid waste in Nigeria especially in Jos-south LGA necessitates continued research to identify the constraints to solid waste management. For this reason this study is being carried out to evaluate the constraints to effective solid waste management, with a view to making recommendations for improvement.

 1.1.1 Statement of the Research Problem

Solid waste management is one of the major problems facing urban centres in Nigeria. With rapid increase in population and urbanization, solid wastes are accumulating faster than agencies’ ability to cope with its effective management. The rate of urban growth in Nigeria is about 3.75%, while population is increasing by about 2.47% per annum (Nigeria Demographic report, 2014). As cities grow, land use becomes increasingly complex and waste generated increase in volume and variety (Omuta, 1987).

Like most cities in Nigeria, Jos city is rapidly increasing in population; from a small town of less than 10,000 people in 1930, 20,000 people in 1950, the population grew to over 600,000 in 1991 (Dung-Gwong, 2006). Besides mining, Jos was a popular recreational and holiday town for colonial officials due to its clement weather and appealing natural environment. This rapid growth of the city led to the creation of Jos-South LGA in 1991 and by 2006 it had a population of 306,716 (NPC, 2006) and this population continues to generate solid waste. In Jos-South LGA, people tend to utilize the most expedient means of waste disposal such as burying, dumping on land, in ditches and gutters, or drainage systems or burying in pits and burning. These practices have resulted in a degraded urban environment and prevalence of diseases such as cholera, diarrhea, and malaria as reported by (PLMH, 2009).This has serious implications for the economy and livelihood realities of the teeming population (Okafor, 2011).

Conscious of the above health implication, the government of Plateau State has made deliberate efforts to rid Jos city of indiscriminate dumping of solid waste. In 1976, Jos-Metropolitan Development Board (JMDB) was created to oversee urban development and city sanitation, but the Board could not achieve its goal on sanitation, which resulted in the creation of Plateau Environmental Protection and Sanitation Agency (PEPSA) in 1991 to manage waste in the city. Yet, the desire for effective management of solid wastes was again not realized. Consequently, there was a declaration of the state of emergency on sanitation in 2008 whereby task force on sanitation was inaugurated to supervise the activities of PEPSA and report directly to the Deputy Governor. Gyang (2008) and Moses (2010) report that despite all these efforts, the city is still littered with indiscriminate dumping of solid waste. Owing to the consistent inability to effectively manage solid waste in the area, it has become necessary to verify and identify the constraints militating against it

Although Agunwamba (1998) identifies some problems militating against solid waste management generally such as Lack of planning, shortage of technical man power, finance, equipment, policies, and enforcement of the law; Imam, Mohamed, Wilson and Cheesman (2008) on the other hand, recognized public behaviours as the problem which affects all the stages of solid waste management such as waste storage, collection, waste segregation, waste recycling and disposal. But these do not appear to adequately account for the parlous state of solid waste management in Jos-South LGA of Plateau State, because of its peculiarity in geography and administration.

Available literature in Nigeria shows that most attention has been focused on problems of solid waste management on specific sectors such as: attitude, governance, collection, and disposal (Ezeashi, 2007; Nzeadibe, Ayadiuno and Akukwe, 2009; Onah, 2010 and Moses, 2010). These researchers studied only topical aspects of solid waste management and evaluated its problems. As such, the determination of the problems of solid waste management using a combination of variables from the different aspects has been largely ignored, particularly in a politically volatile environment. It is against this gap in research and the persistent inability to effectively manage solid waste in the area that this study is being carried out to examine the constraints to effective solid waste management generally in Jos-South LGA, with a view to making recommendations for improvement.

 1.1.2 Aim and Objectives

The aim of this study is to investigate the constraints to effective solid waste management in Jos-South LGA of Plateau State.

In order to achieve this aim, the following specific objectives were set out as follows to:

  1. identify and describe the current solid waste management practices in Jos-South LGA
  2. evaluate the constraints to effective solid waste management in Jos-South LGA
  3. analyse the spatial dimension of the constraints to solid waste management.
  4. suggest appropriate strategies for effective solid waste management in Jos-South LGA.


  1. HO: The difference in the spatial dimension of constraints to SWM in the study area is not homogeneous across wards.


  1. The findings of this study will bring to limelight the problems militating against solid waste management in Jos-south LGA.
  2. The findings of this study will be useful to PEPSA and Plateau State Government in addressing solid waste management problems in Jos-south LGA.

1.1.5 Study Area

The physical and human characteristics of the study area will be discussed under the following headings: location, geology, relief and drainage, climate, vegetation, soil, and socio-economic activities.

1.1.6 Location

Jos-South LGA is one of the seventeen Local Government Areas of Plateau State. It was created in 1991, having a total area of 510sqkm and lies between latitudes 9o021N and 9o461N and longitudes 8o 481E and 9o 411 E (Blench, Daniel and Nnalee, 2003), (See Fig. 1). The Local Government Area is bordered by Jos-North LGA to the North. To the East, it shares boundary with Jos-East. To the West, it shares border with Bassa LGA and to the South, Riyom and Barkin Ladi LGAs. The study area is made up of 20 electoral wards as shown in Fig. 2  namely Hwolshe, Girin, Yanghol Kuru B, Kuru A, Vwang, Kushe, Gyel B, Gyel A, Shew, Du A, Bukuru, Vander, Chigwi, Dashonong, Sot,  Zawan B, Zawan A, Shen, Du B.