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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