The waste management system in low income areas of Jos, Nigeria
: the challenges and waste reduction opportunities

  • Janet Yakubu

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    An estimated 2 billion people do not have access to waste collection services, and 3
    billion do not have access to controlled waste disposal. This lack of services and
    infrastructure has a detrimental impact on public health and the environment with
    waste being dumped or burnt in communities. With waste levels projected to double
    in Less Economically Developed Countries (LEDCs) by 2025 there are significant
    challenges facing municipalities who already lack the basic resources needed to
    manage waste. The United Nations acknowledged the problems of poor sanitation
    and waste management in the Sustainable Development Goals which sets targets to
    address these challenges, including the target by 2030 to substantially reduce waste
    generation through prevention, reduction, reuse and recycling.
    Jos, the capital of Plateau state in Nigeria, shares the waste management challenges
    facing cities in LEDCs. The population of Jos is projected to increase from 1.3
    million in 2007 to 2.7 million in 2025, with much of the population living in densely
    populated areas that lack basic sanitation and controlled disposal of waste.
    This thesis presents the results of a detailed investigation into the current waste
    management system in Jos with a focus on low income areas. Through the adoption
    of mixed methods the thesis identifies how waste is currently being managed and
    establishes the challenges to sustainable waste management. The existing waste
    management system was found to be grossly inadequate with 64 communal
    collection containers being used to collect waste for the entire city, this equates to
    20,313 citizens per container. The system leads to most residents disposing of their
    waste through open dumping in public space and water bodies, and open burning,
    with impacts to public health and the environment. Key challenges identified include
    the lack of suitable resources, political interference, poor governance, overlapping
    responsibilities of agencies, lack of waste awareness amongst the public, and poor
    infrastructure. 13 recommendations are presented to help develop an improved waste
    management system in the study area.
    Despite reduction and reuse being the priorities of the waste hierarchy there is a
    paucity of research on the potential of waste prevention within LEDCs especially
    low income areas. With waste levels projected to increase, waste prevention
    interventions could play an important role. Following waste analysis and a review of
    waste prevention initiatives adopted globally, a shortlist of options suitable for the
    study area was developed. This shortlist was assessed using Ketso and SWOT
    analysis facilitated in focus groups representing the waste industry and the
    community. Community composting was identified as waste prevention intervention
    with the most potential due to 65.2% of the waste stream in the study area being
    biodegradable, and only 5.2% of the community currently composting. Benefits of
    this approach would be less pressure on the waste collection system, reductions in
    waste being indiscriminately dumped, increased awareness of waste issues, and
    compost production that could be utilised in the community. 7 recommendations are presented that in the long term could help to promote waste
    prevention in the study area including training of community volunteers, engagement
    with community leaders, and the developmenttof holistic waste awareness
    Date of AwardOct 2017
    Original languageEnglish
    Awarding Institution
    • University of Brighton
    SupervisorRyan Woodard (Supervisor)

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