THE EFFECT OF REFUSE DISPOSAL ON HUMAN HEALTH IN NIGERIA: A CASE STUDY OF BAYELSA STATE. A RESEARCH PROJECT MATERIAL ON ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE
1.0 Background of the study
human health: The importance of living in a clean environment cannot be over-emphasized. Once an environment is free of indecent waste, its impact is usually seen in all aspects of life of individuals having contact with that environment. The focus of this study was to assess the effect of waste disposal practices in Yenagoa metropolis of Bayelsa State. The need for effective management of solid waste is an issue that has required public health attention in various parts of the globe. It is of utmost importance to ensure that solid waste products are properly managed in order to prevent the occurrence of attendant problems associated with poor waste management including water contamination, air contamination, increased prevalence of vector-borne diseases, infection spread etc. Improper waste management methods have been shown to contribute to the decrease in the quality of health of a population as a result of environmental health nuisances that have arisen as a result of these poor waste management methods (Oyebode, 2013; Igbinomwanhia et al., 2014; Awajiogak, 2013). These waste products broadly called Municipal Solid Waste (MSW), includes effluents arising from agricultural, industrial, construction, mining and exploration or commercial activities which could be gaseous, solid, semi-solid or liquid in nature; garbage disposed at refuse dumps, abandoned non-functional cars/equipments and all other materials which are regarded as no longer useful. These waste products are however at certain times are not properly disposed or managed which in turn leads to the occurrence of environmental of environmental and public health challenges (Onwughara et al., 2010; Schübeler et al., 1996; Karija et al., 2013). Municipal solid waste management however remains a major environmental health challenge in Nigeria which has been attributed to indiscriminate roadside refuse disposal, open dumping of waste products, a massive unplanned urbanization trend and growth of the population, absence of actionable guidelines as regards refuse dumping and refuse dumpsites, inadequacy in funding, laxity in the practice of effective waste management as well as absence of organized waste management systems etc (Igbinomwanhia et al., 2014; Abah and Ohimain, 2010; Agwu, 2012). An assessment of the urban waste problem in Nigeria has revealed that Nigerian cities were among the dirtiest cities in the world and that over 80% of Nigerians use waste disposal methods that are not in line with World Health Organization standards (Federal Ministry of Environment, 2002). It is noteworthy to state that the government of Nigeria on its own part has played significant roles in ensuring that this menace is curbed through the enactment of regulations and legislations that ensure the practice of adequate waste management.