THE POLITICS OF SOLID WASTE MANAGEMENT IN SELECTED LOCAL GOVERNMENTS OF OYO STATE
1.1. Background to the Study
Human’s existence is highly connected to the environment and the importance of the environment cannot be overemphasised. The environment has created a comfortable habitat for man through science, technology, religion and politics. Albeit the environment is a pre-requisite for good and sound health, ignorance of humans to laws of nature and over-exploitation of natural resources have negatively impacted on the environment. Factors such as overpopulation, industrialisation, urbanisation, citizens’ life-style, rural-urban migration, globalization, social development, unchecked technological advancement, resources exploitation, intensive agriculture and lack of adherence to environmental regulations have further aggravated the problems of the environment (Ross, 2012).
One of the dreadful consequences of population growth and urbanisation is the problem of solid waste management. This is because, as population increases, so does the unhealthy by-products, which are in form of solid, liquid and gaseous wastes resulting from human’s activities. The issue of solid waste management is a global concern and many nations, especially developing nations are struggling to find permanent solution to the problem inherent in solid wastes. In Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1992, at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, about 178 governments converged together and agreed that a more sustainable solid waste management was needed in both developed and developing nations. The discussion centred on looking for ways to minimise wastes, maximise reuse, recycling and promote sound environment with ability to have a proper disposal and treatment system of solid wastes in all nations of the world. Although many nations are making incredible efforts towards achieving a proper solid waste management system and practice, not much has been achieved in many developing nations even twenty four years after the conference. Solid waste management still remains a significant environmental challenge in many places in developing countries and especially in Nigeria. In many parts of Nigeria, wastes are still disposed in undesignated areas, open places, gutters, rivers, sometimes on road medians causing environmental and public health problems (Bhatia, 2013).
Various governments of the world, particularly developing countries are finding it extremely difficult to have an effective solid waste management. This is because so much garbage is still lying uncollected in the streets causing inconveniences and environmental pollution resulting in serious health risk. Many nations are beginning to realise that the factors responsible for the low performance of solid waste management are social, economic, political, technological and cultural. An important factor which has been neglected in the issue of solid waste management is political will and support from the three tiers of government.
The indiscriminate littering and dumping of wastes among the people in many developing countries is inimical to solid waste management and does have negative effects on the environment. The aim of solid waste management is to prevent or reduce the impact of waste on human health and local amenity and to maintain cleanliness and public health of a community.
The management of solid wastes has become not only one of the most challenging environmental issues but also a serious political issue that has remained unresolved in many parts of Nigeria. The method of collection, transport, treatment and disposal of solid wastes is relatively a difficult problem in many parts of the nation. Research bodies and policy makers all over the world are concerned on what should be the best approach to solid waste management since most efforts being made by professionals in many cities, local governments, States and federal authorities have proven unsuccessful.
The extent to which waste management is effective and sustained depends greatly on the system of governance and the nation’s political will and machinery. This will range from the national, through State to the local governments. All tiers of government is involved in the issue of solid waste management in formulating laws and ordinances as requirements for the disposal of solid wastes and even in the management of wastes. Environmental issues are handled by the Ministry of Environment at the federal and State levels and Environmental Health department at the local government levels in Nigeria (Arinze, 2014).
As observed by Ajani (2008), the methods adopted for solid waste management in many places in Nigeria and in particular in Oyo State have not matched up with the challenges of solid wastes, as wastes generation exceeds collection capacity. Oyo State is part of the 36 States in Nigeria and has an estimated population of seven million people. Governments at all levels in Oyo State have not been able to device adequate plan or policies that will resolve the challenges of solid waste management and it appears that Oyo State does not have a proper waste management scheme as management of solid waste in every part of the State has been a great challenge for decades. It is evident that solid waste management in Oyo State is plagued with inefficient collection methods, insufficient coverage of the collection system, improper disposal, lack of institutional arrangement, insufficient financial resources, absence of bylaws and standards, inappropriate technology, poor data information for planning, wrong attitude of waste generators amongst others. These challenges are causing serious health concern with significant environmental, social and health costs in Nigeria and especially in many local governments of Oyo State, where there are dumping of garbage by road sides, in rivers and many other open spaces which facilitates breeding of disease vectors such as flies, mosquitoes, cockroaches, rats and other pests.
The Oyo State governments have continued to make concerted efforts to curb the challenges plaguing solid waste management sector in the State. In 1984, the Federal government of Nigeria introduced the monthly sanitation exercise for every last Saturday of every month to allow people take care of their surroundings. The Oyo State government, became part of the programme and the people of Oyo State were made to observe the exercise while officials of the Ministry of Environment go out to monitor the activities of the public.
Between 1988 and 1996, the Oyo State government implemented the Oyo State Urban Rehabilitation Project which was a programme designed for: Channelization of the Ogunpa river, establishment of the Ibadan Solid Waste Management Authority and Rehabilitation and Urban renewal of Yemetu Aladorin, Mokola and Ogbere rivers. Oyo State has a long history of flooding as a result of solid waste management problems. Most of the flood disasters in the State have been as a result of the indiscriminate dumping of solid waste in the Ogunpa and other rivers in the State. Examples of such floods are that of 1902, 1924, 1956, 1960, 1963, 1978 and the most devastating of them all before that of August 2011 was the one of 1980 that claimed so many lives and destroyed properties worth millions of naira. This made the Oyo State government to approach the World Bank for the rehabilitation and chanellisation of the Ogunpa River in 2011.
In 1997, there was an initiative by the State government to turn waste to organic fertilizer. The plant for this was commissioned in 1998. Also, in 1999, the Oyo State government introduced Kerbside Sweeping in preparation for the World Youth Soccer Tournament. From thence, street sweeping, registered refuse collectors to collect refuse all became parts of the efforts of the government to curb the challenges of solid waste in the State. There was also the introduction of refuse drums and containers for the residents to collect and empty their refuse.
In 2009, the Oyo State government increased the routine maintenance of Urban Roads Environment in Ibadan metropolis from 40 to 52 and also increased the monthly allocation of the Ministry from N3,348,879.4 to N9,856,003.38. Between 2009 and 2010, additional sweepers were employed and the State government bought additional trucks. Also bought were the smaller trucks called Ro-Ro for routs that are too small for the big trucks to ply.
The 2011 flood was not really caused by the Ogunpa but as a result of overflows of other rivers such as, Ona, Ogbere and Dandaru which was also a great calamity to the State. The flood led the State government to approach the World Bank for funds to finance infrastructures in Oyo State. The funds from the World Bank made the channelization of the Ogunpa river possible. But in spite of all the efforts, Oyo State is still plagued with serious solid waste management problem.
Thus this study focused on examining the problems of solid waste management in Oyo State from the standpoint of politics, the practitioners involved in the management, the socio-cultural practices and biases amongst the practitioners and their impacts upon the environment.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Successive administrations in Oyo State have continued to make concerted efforts towards curbing the menace that arises with the challenges of management of solid wastes and have devised different kinds of mechanisms to control the proliferation of solid wastes in the State some of which were mentioned above, but most of the efforts have proved ineffective and yielded little results and it appears there is no effective permanent solution to this perennial problem. The Ogunpa disaster in 1980 during the tenure of late Chief Bola Ige which claimed over 200 lives and damaged properties worth millions of naira (Etuonovbe, 2014) and the occurrence of sporadic flooding in many parts of the State during raining seasons, has made it obvious that there is urgent need for a strong political wheel to drive and re-engineer the entire process of waste management in the State. For it has been discovered that the floods are largely caused by lack of proper waste disposal system, indiscriminate dumping of wastes and poor urban planning in the State resulting in blockages of curvets, drainages and river courses.
Oyeniyi, (2011) postulated that Ibadan, the capital city of Oyo State, has been described as one of the dirtiest in Africa. Suffice to say that the indiscriminate dumping of solid wastes on streets, in gutters, culverts and other places resulting in flood, causing destruction of roads and other infrastructures and sometimes loss of lives during rains is a growing cause of concern in many parts of the State. Going through the city from Elizabeth Road in Mokola through to Sabo, from Sango to Ojoo, going through the Iwo road axes, Molete and other parts of the State, the heaps of solid wastes on the roads create an unpleasant sight, oozing out terrible stench, causing damage to the environment and endangering public health. In addition, from the research carried out by Bakare (2014), Nigeria generates around 3.2 million tons of solid waste annually and only about 20-30% is collected. The research went further to State that, from this amount, Ibadan alone generated 579,723 tonnes in the year 2000 and 996,102tonnes in 2010 and it is estimated that by year 2020 it would have increased to the tune of 1,114,000 tonnes of solid wastes.
Several agencies are often involved in solid waste management at the federal, State and local government levels. The problem however, is that these agencies are not given clear roles or functions in solid waste management. And this has sometimes led to duplication of efforts and lack of effective legislation on solid waste management. In addition neglect of the economic, social, political, cultural and psychological factors in the area of formulating and implementing policies/programs to ensure environmental sustainability is of immense importance and is a great problem in the issue of waste management in the State.
The study identified those policies, laws, institutional, political, socio-cultural, financial, economic and technical aspects of solid waste management that should be given optimum attention with all seriousness. The study also presented a critique of the current solid waste management practices, policies and politics in some selected local government councils in Oyo State.
1.3 Objective of the Study
The main objective of the study was to investigate the politics of solid waste management in local governments of Oyo State. The specific objectives are to:
1. examine the social, economic, cultural and political factors on solid waste management in Oyo State;
2. assess the ability of local governments in terms of adequate funding to effectively manage solid waste in Oyo State;
3. appraise the engagement of Public Private Partnership (PPP) as solid wastes consultants based on their competence and pedigree; and
4. evaluate the effect of politicization of solid waste management on the residents of Oyo State.
1.4 Research Questions
Based on the Stated problems of the study, the following research questions were raised:
1. How do social, economic, cultural and political factors affect solid waste management in Oyo State?
2. Why are local governments in Oyo State not able to effectively manage solid wastes?
3. How does the engagement of Public-Private Partnership (PPP) affect the performance of solid waste management in Oyo State?
4. What are the effects of politicization of solid waste management on the residents of Oyo State?
The following hypotheses were tested at 5% level of significance:
H01: There will be no joint effect of independent variables of economic, social, political and cultural factors on politicisation of solid waste management.
H02: There is no significant relationship between solid waste management and ineffectiveness of local governments to manage solid wastes.
1.6 Significance of the Study
Many studies have been carried out on waste, waste management and solid waste management, but this research is different because it is carried out to specifically review the effects of politics on solid waste management and why there is still so much garbage on our streets in spite of all the strategies in waste management that have been put in place. More so, not many publications have been written to provide the type of information needed on ways to tackle solid waste management problems in developing countries especially in Africa where the political systems and institutions are still evolving. That is, those processes that could address solid wastes management problems of African continent with its political nature and system which is different from that of developed nations where political systems and institutions have been entrenched to ensure that the institutions function irrespective of whichever party is in power ensuring minimal or no political intervention in solid waste management.
The study would therefore make recommendations that researchers and policy makers can use to proffer solutions to the observed lapses in the entire process of solid waste management by critiquing each segment of the process to ensure effectiveness of performance which should result in a healthier and cleaner environment. In addition, the study would examine the socio-political relationships between interest groups and stake holders involved in solid waste management which would in turn help decision-makers, policy makers and should be useful for future researchers of the environment in local governments of Oyo State.
1.7 Scope of the Study
This research work was a general appraisal of the 33 local governments in Oyo State of Nigeria but focus was made of six local governments in the State. These local governments were chosen from all the senatorial districts in the State and these are: Oyo Central Senatorial district – Akinyele Local government (Moniya) and Surulere (Ireesaadu) Local government, Oyo North Senatorial district – Ibadan North East Local government (Iwo-road), Orire Local government (Ikoyi-Ile) and Oyo South Senatorial district, Ibarapa central (Igboora) and lastly, Ido local government (Eleyele – Eruwa road). These local governments were chosen as they cover the geo-political zones. The six local governments have been chosen taking into cognisance the low, medium and high density in terms of solid waste generation based on the population of the local governments. The study covered the period between 2011 – 2016 being the period the State government placed emphasis on its resolve to curb environmental challenges in the State.
1.8 Operational Definition of Terms
The major terms used in this research work are hereby explained thus:
Solid Waste: Solid wastes are those wastes that are not in liquid or gaseous form but are solid in form. They are all the rubbish, refuse, garbage, trash and materials no longer in use and are ready to be discarded.
Politics: This is the ability to participate in decisions of the State and also employ political power to produce intended effects on other people. Politics can also be defined as the authoritative allocations of values for a society. That is, the political activities within a State which answer the questions of “who gets what, when and how”.
Environment: The environment from a literary point of view, is generally viewed as encompassing the natural world including flora and fauna and human civilisation.
Solid waste management: This involves management activities associated with generation, storage, collection, transfer, transport, reuse, recycling, processing and disposal of solid wastes.
1.9 Chapter outlay of the Study
This research work has been presented in five chapters. Chapter one contains the introduction, the background to the study, Statement of the study, the research questions, research hypothesis, significance of the study and objectives of the study. Chapter two discussed the theoretical framework and review of relevant literatures while chapter three discussed the research methodology and the research design, sample and sampling procedure. Chapter four is the explanation of data while chapter five is the summary, conclusion and has offered recommendations.