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1.0 Introduction

This chapter introduces the research study. It gives the background to the study, statement to the problem, research questions, scope and the significance of the study, definition of terms and organization of the study.

1.1 Background to the study

Solid waste management practices are essential component of environmental infrastructure in human settlements. These practices encompass all activities undertaken from the point of waste generation up to the final disposal. In most of African urban areas, solid waste management is ultimately a responsibility of Municipal Councils while most cases of rural areas the wastes are handled and disposed at the household level (Frank, 2006). Solid Waste Management (SWM) is major environmental issues particularly in municipalities of many developing countries that has been suffering from environmental problems. Alamgir, Donald, Roehl and Ahsan (2005) assert that urban population growth and economic development should be considered key issues for Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) generation. Increasing unplanned urbanization along with user’s mindset of ‘out of sight out of mind’ of wastes is one of the factors that make the production of solid waste to increase and though intensifying environmental pressures including unorganized waste disposal in many municipalities. In many cases, the, SWM is found to be a major concern for the municipalities and towns of many countries and Nigeria is not an exception (ADB, 2012).

Waste segregation is an act of dividing waste into dry and wet. Dry waste includes hard materials such as wood and related products, metals and glass and so on. Wet waste typically refers to liquid or organic waste usually generated by eating establishments and are heavy in weight due to dampness.

Waste generation is increasing, while a sizeable portion of it is disposed on improperly located and operated dumpsites, resulting in dire impacts on environment and health. In addition, Mtey (2005) and Vincent (2000) report that between one-third and one-half of the solid waste generated within most cities in low and middle-income countries is not collected. They usually end up as illegal dumps on streets, open spaces and wetland; and the consequences to have never been favorable to flora and fauna. The Ministry of Infrastructure further reports that solid waste management needs to be reinforced through national policy and regulatory framework to addresses environmental issues.

Accordingly, Abuja town’s waste contains still 70 percent of organic, biodegradable waste and in rural areas the portion of waste reach more than 95 percent. Waste sorting, composting and recycling activities have been at the very beginning and until 2015 and yet Nigeria has started to invest in environmentally safe landfills. The operating dumpsite receives about 400 tons per day of solid, not sorted waste or 140,000 tons per year (MININFRA, 2013). Deep seated fires, methane explosions, landslides and leakages threatening rivers and groundwater are some of the common problems of such basic dumpsites as environmental threats (Hogan, 2004). The current thinking is that poor waste management reflects largely the failure of the existing institutions to adequately address the waste problems (Yekeen, 2010). Any initiative to build capacity by urban institutions has to become attractive and conducive to environmental safeguard. Capacity needs to be weighed and understood at all level, formal and informal, to aid capacity building and then capacity assessment that is concerned with identifying existing capacity and what additional capacity is required to get things done (NUDB, 2008; Yekeen, 2010).

1.2 Statement of the problem

The management of solid waste stands as the most visible environment problem facing the country Nigeria and is attaining a worrisome dimension with urbanization increment rate. Despite the rapid growth of its population, areas such as Abuja have never had any clear Master plan to re-organize the planning and settlement since colonial era. This has put pressure on the infrastructure which has resulted in many complex problems regarding settlement notably waste management, where the solid waste problem is visible in most parts of the area’s urban centers; on the roads, within the neighborhoods and around residential buildings and in different places of the urban areas. Failure to address waste management related issues is expected to lead to numerous social and environmental contaminations.

1.3 Purpose of the study

The purpose of this study was to assess solid waste segregation as a strategy for improved waste management in Abuja.

1.4 Specific objectives

  1. To establish the status of the existing solid waste collection, transportation and disposal practices in Abuja.

  2. To examine magnitude solid waste management problems in Abuja.

  3. To examine the challenges of solid waste segregation in Abuja.

  4. To design strategies to improve solid waste segregation challenges in Abuja.

1.5 Research questions

In order to achieve the above objectives, the following research questions were used:

  1. What is the status of the existing solid waste collection, transportation and disposal practices in Abuja?

  2. What are the magnitude solid waste management problems in Abuja?

  3. What are the challenges of solid waste segregation in Abuja?

  4. What are design strategies to overcome solid waste segregation challenges in Abuja?

1.6 Significance of the study

To a large extent, solid waste management efficiency depends on the way different actors understand the danger and the good of maintaining environment safe and their capacity but also the commitment of public and private sectors as well as the involvement and participation of the communities themselves in supporting the whole concept. It also depends on the useful information and lessons from current best practices in the provision of this important service. Such information and lessons can be obtained only through research and studies; hence this research can assist in the improvement and performance of solid waste management in the urban settlements and to identify opportunities for future strategic development in the field of solid waste management. Particularly, this study is useful to the different stakeholders including planners, administrators and private waste collectors, and in one way or the other contributes to future policy interventions in solid waste management sector of the city of Abuja and Nigeria at large.

1.7 Scope of the study

The study was based on solid waste segregation as a method for improving waste management in Abuja; looking at practices from the generation up to the disposal. It examined solid waste collection, transportation and final disposal by criticizing magnitude problems of solid waste management and then designs the strategies of how challenges could be overcome as the increase of solid waste production is considerable and can be one of environmental considerations.

1.8 Definition of key terms

This study uses the definition by UNEP (2002) which defines wastes as substances or objects, which are disposed or are intended to be disposed or are required to be disposed by the provisions of national law. This definition is also in congruence with what Mugambwa and Kizito (2009); and Mukisa (2009) use that wastes refer to items, materials or substances which individuals consider useless at a given time and place. Usually, the definition of waste depends on types or categories and characteristics of waste under consideration. Some of the dominant types of waste include: municipal waste, solid waste, hazardous waste and electronic waste.

Solid waste

For the purpose of this study, solid waste are referred to as garbage; they are organic and inorganic waste materials that are normally solid produced by households, commercial, institutional and industrial activities that have lost value in sight of the initial users.

Municipal solid waste

The study will use the definition by Schubeler (1996); Cointreau-Levine and Coad (2000) in which municipal solid waste refers to refuse from households, non-hazardous solid waste from industrial, commercial and institutional establishments, market waste, yard waste and street sweepings but excluding excreta, except when it is mixed with solid waste. It is however necessary to note that in developing countries, it becomes difficult or even impractical to put a line between excreta and solid waste. In many instances, solid waste mixes with excreta to the extent of being potentially hazardous to human health (Schubeler 1996).

Solid waste management

This study defines solid waste management as practices used for collection, transportation, processing, recycling or disposal of garbage (Mugambwa and Kizito, 2009). It ought to be appreciated that waste management practices differ for developed and developing countries, for urban and rural areas, and for residential and industrial producers. The volumes and types of solid waste in the different sources of waste justify the difference in the waste management practices. It therefore implies that the methods appropriate in one setting may be different from another setting. Felix (2010) points out some key elements of Solid Waste Management as waste generation, waste storage, collection and transportation.

1.9 Organization of the study

The study is divided into five chapters. Chapter one deals with the study’s introduction and gives a background to the study. Chapter two reviews related and relevant literature. The chapter three gives the research methodology while the chapter four gives the study’s analysis and interpretation of data. The study concludes with chapter five which deals on the summary, conclusion and recommendation.

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