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Poor waste management has been a major problem to human existence and it affects every community. The study is on general and management of household waste in rural area Using selected rural areas in Enugu as a case study. Various methods of waste disposal exist and this study assessed the waste management practices among residents in rural communities in Enugu state. It was a descriptive cross sectional study in which a total of 282 residents of  Nsuka area, Okanpku and Mpu were selected by multistage sampling technique and studied using self and interviewer administered questionnaires. The results showed that 90% of respondents were aware of waste management while 97.5% had positive attitude towards it. The major types of waste generated from households were food residues (97.1%) and vegetable products (95.4%). Also poor waste management practices among residents include open dumping, practiced by 66.3% of the residents and burning as practiced by 62.4% of respondents. The commonest means of waste transport to final disposal site was by wheel barrow. Gender and educational status of respondents significantly influenced their knowledge, attitude and practice of waste management (p < 0.05). Good waste management is pivotal to sustainable healthy living conditions in any environment. Based on the findings, it is recommended that a door to door waste collection system be employed and that government should ensure accessibility to homes by constructing roads across the city, it was also suggested that the waste levy on residents in the area be reviewed to an affordable rate and that a community education program be put in place.




            In most developing countries like Nigeria, the problems associated with solid waste management are more acute than in the developed countries (Zerbock, 2003). Today in rural Nigeria, the rate at which waste is being generated is about 70% as compared to the total rate of its disposal which is 30% (Edu, 2003). No doubt Edu (2003) argued that waste could be anything which may not be directly useful or needed by man. Lack of financial resources and infrastructure to deal with solid waste creates a vicious cycle; lack of resources leads to low quality of service provision which leads to fewer people willing to pay for services, which in turn further erodes the resource base and so on (Kuniyal et al. 1998; Zerbock, 2003).

            The problem is further complicated by the rapid growth in population which has influenced an increase in the volume of waste being generated and also on waste retrieval/disposal services in municipal areas. However, more often than not, an increase in population is not matched with an equal increase in service and revenue for the local municipalities for waste management (Zerbock, 2003).

            According to Ezema (2009), wastes are useless, unwanted and discarded materials.’ Douglas (2004) corroborates Ezema’s stance and argues that ‘waste is material which arises from animal and human life and activities and is discarded as useless and unwanted items.  Solid waste can also be referred to wastes from households, municipal services, construction debris and agricultural activities. This also includes non-hazardous, non-liquid wastes from institutions and industries (RA 9003). According to the World Bank (2001), waste generation is greatly influenced by a country’s development.

            Generally, the more economically prosperous a country is, the more waste it generates per capita but the factor that seem to bridge the gap between waste generation and it’s resultant effect is the method or efficiency of waste management strategy adopted by such country. A typical example could be seen when comparing the waste situation in developed countries like; Britain, United States of America, Canada where there exist much

economic activities that generate more waste but with a corresponding well organized waste management system compared to the situation in developing countries like; Nigeria, Ghana and Cameroun with their steady increase in population and a corresponding increase in their rate of waste generation from industrial and human activities but without an efficient waste management system.

             It is realized that the waste situation in developed countries are much better than that of the developing countries irrespective of the volume of waste they generate due to the

waste management strategy they practice or employ. Solid waste management could be defined as the discipline associated with the control of generation, storage, collection, transfer and transport, processing and disposal of solid waste in a manner that is in accord

with the best principles of public health, economic, engineering, conservation, aesthetics and other environment consideration that is also responsive to public attitudes (Tchobanoglous et al., 1993). Solid waste management (SWM) pertains to the control of the generation, storage, collection, transfer and transportation, processing and disposal of solid waste in a fashion that is in accordance to societal and economic needs while at the same time compliant to environmental standards and principles (RA 9003).

            Solid waste is a telltale sign of how citizens’ lifestyles change as a result of economic development. Furthermore, the increase of waste generation in the different rural households in Enugu  is indicative of its degree of rurality. In cities, where standard of living is high, there is usually a higher waste output compared to rural areas. Household solid waste management (MSWM) continues to be a major challenge for local authorities in rural areas throughout Nigeria. This challenge is particularly important for the developing

countries. The available statistics shows that, although the municipal solid waste generation in the developing countries is still low per-capita compared to that in the developed countries, the developing countries account for more disproportionately high share of the world’s solid waste generation relative to their share of world’s income (Afroz et, al. 2009).

            Moreover, from a dynamic point of view, the municipal solid waste management in developing countries is predicted to face a great challenge in the future owing to their rapid population and economic growth. Empirical analyses using macroeconomic data indicates that the per capita generation of solid waste is at least 0.3-0.4 kilograms per day even for the poorest people. In general, a one percent increase in population is associated with a 1.04 percent increase in solid waste generation, and a one percent increase in per capita income

is associated with a 0.34 percent increase in total solid waste generation (Afroz et,al. 2009).

            Irrespective of the fact that most of the developing countries are still in the early stage of economic development, it is generally expected that the challenges of solid waste generation and management could be avoidable in such countries considering that most cities in developing countries spends significant portions of their municipal revenue on waste management (Osumanu, 2007; Thomas-Hope, 1998; Schubeler, 1996 and Bartone, 2000; Zhuang et al., 2008), but they are often unable to keep pace with the scope of the problem.

            Senkoro (2003) indicated that for many African countries, only less than 30% of the rural population has access to proper and regular garbage removal (Altaf and Deshazo, 1996). The current practice of collecting, processing and disposing municipal solid wastes is also considered to be least efficient in the developing countries. The typical problems are ―low collection coverage and irregular collection services, crude open dumping and burning without air and inefficient water pollution control, the breading of flies and vermin, and the mishandling and uncontrolled informal waste picking or scavenging activities (Bartone, 1995).

            Poor solid waste management in the developing countries is a major threat to public health and environmental quality, and reduces the quality of life, particularly for the poorer residents in rural areas. One of the principal reasons for the inefficient SWM systems in the developing countries is said to be based on their financial misappropriation, mismanagement and constraint, as SWM is given low priority in the developing countries budget, except in few large cities like Johannesburg, Abuja, Soweto, Pretoria, Tunis, Cairo,

Accra etc.

            In Nigeria, solid waste problem started with the rapid increase in rural growth resulting partly from the increase in population and more importantly with the increase in its immigration status (Egunjobi, 1996), no town in Nigeria can boast of haven found a lasting solution to the problem of filthy and huge piles of solid waste, rather the problem continues to assume monstrous dimensions (Okpala, 2002). To rural dwellers,

public hygiene starts and ends in their immediate surrounding and indeed the city would take care of itself.

            The situation has so deteriorated that today the problem of solid waste has become one of the nation’s most serious environmental problem. Waste management in Enugu rural areas is becoming an increasing problem daily and a complex task. The Enugu state waste management agency (ESWAMA) was established to develop and implement policies on the

management of solid and liquid wastes that would promote the health and well being of the people. To this end, ESWAMA has the responsibility to ensure effective and efficient collection, removal, treatment and disposal of all kinds of wastes.

             It also has a mandate to check the illegal dumping of refuse at roadsides, enclosures, streams in neighborhoods and in drains. The agency is further empowered to prosecute defaulters of sanitation laws,  while providing waste management facilities.  The state’s sanitation laws compel residents to cooperate with ESWAMA in efforts to keep the environment clean. This they are required to do by cleaning up their environment, bagging wastes and disposing them at nearby designated dump-sites. The residents are also required to pay approved sanitation rates through designated banks in various zones.

            In Enugu, human activities have generated waste in various forms in gaseous (abattoirs), liquid and solid. These wastes have often been discarded because they were all considered as negative value goods. The more prevalent method of disposal of these wastes have been to first collect them from their source and then burn them in a landfill site or throw them in the surrounding deep erosion gullies in the state.

            However, the steady increase of landfill site, deposition in the gullies, and waste generally has caused a lot of havoc to the potable water being extracted from downstream and ground water. In most parts of Enugu communities, there are no public facilities for disposing refuse within reasonable distance, dump sites or waste bins are non-existent and in locations where dumpsites are made available, they are observed to overflow with refuse within few hours of disposal due to the rate of waste generated by populace within the area constituting health hazards.

            However, the Government of Enugu State of Nigeria adopted different methods of solid waste disposal. One time, the incinerator machines were used and recently solid waste conversion vehicles are used and yet solid waste still constitute a major health hazard in the Enugu communities. It is believed that the refuse disposal vehicles are insufficient to cover their designated areas. The areas that are more susceptible to the endemic problem are areas

within the Enugu rural areas such as Nsuka, Trans-Ekulu, Obolo market,  market, Obiagu, Achara layout owing to the highly populated nature of the areas.

            Some people who were recently arraigned in the Environmental Court for waste disposal related offences claimed to lack knowledge of where and how to properly dispose or manage their wastes.

            In recent times, Solid waste management problem has become a major concern in an industrialized developing country, like Nigeria and in Enugu in particular, considering the high growth-rate of population and industrialization in the city, It’s in this regards that this study seek to investigate and examine the current state of the waste management strategy being employed by the waste management agency (ESWAMA) in the study area  (Enugu metropolis) to actually ascertain the state of waste management in the area to help the government and planners take adequate steps and decisions towards ensuring an improved standard of living the health safety within the study area.


            Many rural areas in Nigeria and Enugu state lack effective waste management systems. As a result, most rural households resort to the haphazard  dumping, burning and/or burying of solid wastes. (Agunwamba, Egbuniwe and Ogwueleka 2003). Agunwamba (1998) stated that the problem of waste management in Nigeria is due to the absence of public policy, enabling legislation and an environmentally stimulated and enlightened public. Appropriate policy and institutional mechanism for implementation of waste management strategies are critical for sustainable waste management. Where the policy is poor or the public is not properly sensitized or there are no proper enforcement of laws and regulations, waste management is a problem or challenge.

            Household solid waste management in Enugu is constitutionally the responsibility of the third tiers of government, that is, the local government council. Financial, material and human resources that have been committed to waste management by this tier of government have not matched this responsibility.

            This is evident by the poor management of many landfill sites and soil and groundwater pollution due to often mixing of household, industrial and toxic waste (UNEP, 2000). In view of the environmental situation described above in many rural areas, many Nigerian cities have been described as dirty, unsanitary, and aesthetically displeasing in the world (Mabogunje, 1996). It is evident that management of solid waste remains a key issue to be addressed in this country.

            In Armenia, collection, transportation, treatment and disposal of household solid waste have been neglected for several years because of inadequate resources. The existing institutions are inadequately equipped in terms of skills and capital resources to effectively manage the waste problems (NEAP, 1998). Waste collection and transportation activities are quite poor organised.

            Waste generation is primarily a function of people’s consumption patterns and thus is based on their socioeconomic characteristics. Low-income groups and the very poor typically generate low volumes of organic waste. In some rural areas of Enugu state little food to go around and the parts that are not consumed by the household members are used for the domestic animals or composted to amend the garden soil. Those who are somewhat better off may share leftovers as well as old clothing with those more needy (Bernstein 1999).

            The World Bank poverty and social impact assessment for Cashmere Sector Improvements, 2004, further stated that waste generation is also influenced to an important degree by people’s attitudes toward waste: their patterns of material use and waste handling, their interest in waste reduction, the degree to which they separate wastes, and the extent to which they refrain from indiscriminate dumping and services. Attitudes may be positively influenced through awareness building campaigns and education about the negative aspects of inadequate waste collection with regard to public health and environmental conditions, and the value of effective disposal. Such campaigns also should inform people of their responsibility as waste generators and of their rights as citizens to adequate solid waste management services (Kudat, 1988).

            Refuse dumps have now taken over roads that link to various parts of Nsuka especially in Enugu state. Some parts of Enugu state always have to contend with the sight of human and cattle excreta, and refuse dumps that have almost taken over the roads. Despite the efforts put in by Enugu state government in managing waste in rural area, it still faces the waste management problem. A major premise responsible for the poor management of waste in the Rural areas is the absence of a well defined management structure. Therefore the research problem seeks to assess the way waste in Rural areas is managed towards providing a better way of solid waste collection and disposal, and proposing an institutional framework that will help the government agency for a better solid waste management structure.


1. To examine solid waste reuse and recycling in Nigeria.

2. To identify the household solid waste characteristics and management in rural communities in Enugu state.

3. To examine the refuse disposal behaviours of residents in rural areas of Enugu state.

4. To examine the existing Nigerian policies and regulations on waste management

5. To identify the problems of solid waste management in Nigeria.


1. What are the characteristics of households in rural communities in Enugu state towards solid waste management?

3. Does residents in rural areas of Enugu state show negative attitude towards refuse disposal?

 4. Are there existing Nigerian policies and regulations on waste management?

5. What are the problems of solid waste management in Nigeria?


H0: Residents in rural areas of Enugu state show negative attitude towards refuse disposal.

H1: Residents in rural areas of Enugu state show positive attitude towards refuse disposal.


            The scope of waste management has evolved throughout history with changes in socioeconomic conditions, city structures, and the environment. Today, waste infrastructure that is well planned and operated supports community sanitation and related activities. Effective waste management is essential for nutrient recycling and for maintaining ecosystem integrity. It is also important for:

             Improving the environment through proper drainage and disposal of wastewater;

  Preventing floods through removal of rainwater;

            Preserving receiving water quality. The solid waste treatment process facilitates the achievement of water quality objectives. In addition to nutrient recycling, advanced treatment of wastewater often includes associated unit processes which support the optimization of resource use. Some of these unit processes include the conversion of sludge into various beneficial by-products, and the process of extracting thermal energy from waste and wastewater. In addition, the waste collection system can be used as a conduit for optical fibre cables and other communications infrastructure.

This study will cover the general and management of household waste in rural area. The scope of the study cover some selected communities in Enugu state.

Financial constraint– Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).
Time constraint– The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.


Wastes : Wastes may be defined as useful materials but are in places where they are not needed. A discarded empty beer bottle or empty bottled water container may be useful to a ‘zobo’ seller. Though these empty containers are discarded because their owners found them useless, they can become a resource to another person.

Solid Waste: Solid waste is any useless, unwanted and discarded material, resulting from normal community activities which have lost its original purpose and usage with insufficient liquid content to be free flowing (American Public works Association, 1975; WHO, 1977, West African Health Examination Board-WAHEB, 1991; Obionu, 1999; and Okereke, 2000).

Waste Management: Waste management is the collection, transportation, and disposal of garbage, sewage, and other waste products. Waste management encompasses management of all processes and resources for proper handling of waste materials, from maintenance of waste transport trucks and dumping facilities to compliance with health codes and environmentalregulations( management, 2013).

Reuse”: Reuseis simply the act of using an item again and again in its original form. Reusing items eliminates the need to reprocess materials (whether it is for disposal or for recycling).

“Recycle”: “Recyclemeans to give old or used things a new lease of life, by making new things out of the old materials. The “Reduce Reuse Recycle” hierarchy as seen in figure 2.2 below was developed in order to minimize waste as well as conserve natural resources and extract the most out of already produced goods. The Three ‗R‘s, “Reduce Reuse Recycle”, are aligned into a hierarchy to illustrate the most effective plan of action for waste management practices. Reducing consumption and waste production is the first and most effective step toward producing less waste (consuming less automatically produces less waste). However, there are times when consumption is necessary. In these cases, reuse as much as possible before recycling any remaining materials.

Combustion: Combustion is the controlled burnings of waste in a designated facility to reduce its volume and

in some cases, to generate electricity. Combustion is an I.S.W.M. option for waste that cannot recycle or

composted argues Tim (2008) and is sometimes selected by communities where landfill space is limited.


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