Improper Waste Disposal in Nsukka

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STATEMENT OF NEED The improper disposal of municipal waste has a serious and dangerous impact on a wide range of areas. Garbage thrown in the street or in open space creates a public health hazard, while waste dumped near rivers, lakes and streams contaminates the water supply. Rubbish that is burned in the open rather than disposed off properly creates pollution and releases toxic fumes into the environment. Non-biodegradable materials thrown into open drains make their way into the sewerage system, clogging pipelines and damaging infrastructure.

The hazards posed by the dumping of untreated hospital and industrial waste are even greater, with the release of pathogens and toxic compounds posing a grave threat not just to human life but also to plants and animals. Garbage dumped in the countryside is not simply an eyesore; entire landscapes are ruined and unique habitats for flora and fauna are lost. All of these problems are common in Nsukka, where vast quantities of solid waste remain uncollected in the streets, along major roads, in empty plots of land, down hill slopes and in illegal dumps.

There are many challenges facing the effective disposal of solid waste in the Nsukka. Budget constraints are a chronic issue. Nearly 87% of the solid waste budget in Nsukka goes to pay salaries, maintain dilapidated vehicles and provision of safety materials leaving scarce resources to improve or expand services. As a result, the garbage collection infrastructure is crumbling and local authority workers have not been issued any new equipment since 2008.

Collection vehicles currently in use are too sophisticated to run and maintain, thus garbage in metropolis accumulates. The system is so overburdened that even if collection across the town were to operate at full capacity, an estimated 4 tones of garbage would remain uncollected daily. Garbage collection services are irregular in some parts of the town and non-existent in others. In Nsukka, G. R. A, Odenigbo, Onuiyi and some part of Ugwuoye are covered while Obukpa, Edem-Ani, Opi, Ede-Oballa etc are hardly paid attention to.

Contributing also to the problem of waste disposal in Nsukka town is the attitude of the populace who has continually dumped refuse indiscriminately on the roads, in the streets, into drainages and in any open space defying usage of specified areas meant for refuse collection. Even when refuse is dumped in marked collection containers, it is usually not properly identified, separated and bagged in waste cellophane. This flagrant display of misbehavior could be linked to lack or low level of education by the local authority, absence of properly marked areas and refuse containers and inability of enforcing laws where it exists.

This is compounded by the habits and attitudes of communities, where it is common practice to throw waste into the street, in open drains, on empty plots of land, or to simply burn it in the open. But the problem is not only simply one of behavior, institutional and financial constraints. As in other parts of the country, the lifestyle and consumption patterns of Nsukka residents have changed dramatically in recent years. More goods made of non-biodegradable materials are now commonly in use, not just among relatively prosperous groups but in middle- and low-income households as well.

Plastic bags and bottles, disposable diapers, electronic equipment and packaging materials not only increase the volume of waste produced but also alter its composition, making disposal more difficult. This project shall be conducted in Nsukka town in Nsukka local government area of Enugu state. Nsukka happen to be one of the local governments in the state and she houses the foremost Nigerian University which is a pride of the country and should be seen as centre of excellence both in education and deeds.

A situation where Nsukka is seen as a city of filth, decadence and ignorance will not augur well to the perception of an average visitor. My interaction with people of the Nsukka town and its suburb showed ignorance and lack of proper understanding of waste identification, categorization, separation, waste/refuse disposal methods as the contributing factors to indiscriminate dumping of refuse thus necessitating this proposal for proper enlightenment and education of the people of the town.

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