History and contexts of municipal solid waste management in Aba – Recounting the stories of residents
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Nwankpa, S. & Scandrett, E. (2020) History and contexts of municipal solid waste management in Aba – Recounting the stories of residents. Journal of Environment and Earth Science, 10(9), pp. 61-74.
To review the history of MSW management in a place, authors often review the development drivers of MSW management and or how such drivers have affected MSW management policy or practice in the place. This study focuses on the lived experiences of the residents. The researchers believe that a phenomenological review of the lived experiences of long term residents of the city of Aba, provide unique and more useful account of the development of MSW management in the city especially in the absence of any significant development in the methods and or processes of managing MSW. It is also recommended that similar methods be utilised in reviewing the development of MSW management in similar cities in Nigeria and other cities in Sub Saharan Africa. The study finds that over the period in review, the process of MSW management in Aba has remained rudimentary, primarily consisting of evacuation of refuse from one point to another without any form of treatment or processing. Responses from participants of this study – drawn from an extended peer community of long-term residents of the city, suggest that except for a period between 2013 and 2014, the overall MSW management situation in the city have worsened. From post-independence in 1960 to 2017, four distinct eras characterised mainly by the leadership and clarity of purpose was identified by analysing the responses from participants. There are widespread accusations of nepotism, corruption, ineptitude and high handedness levelled against the current leadership of Abia State Environmental Protection Agency (ASEPA) - the agency responsible for managing MSW in Aba. However, most of the current problems and challenges can be traced back to several years of negligence and subsequent dilapidation of infrastructure. For a sustainable progress to be made and maintained, MSW managers in the city must find a way to involve the wider community of stakeholders in the design, implementation and evaluation of the city’s waste management policies and processes.