A POST-NORMAL SCIENCE APPROACH TO UNDERSTANDING THE REAL ISSUES, CHALLENGES AND CONTEXTS OF MUNICIPAL SOLID WASTE (MSW) MANAGEMENT IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES – A CASE STUDY OF ABA-URBAN IN ABIA STATE, NIGERIA.
Nwankpa, Stanley Onyeonoziri
MetadataShow full item record
Effective management of waste is a complex task requiring appropriate technical solutions, sufficient organisational capacity and the collaboration of a wide range of stakeholders. The more advanced, high-income economies and developed nations of the world have evolved their current systems in a series of steps. It is now widely recognised that it is counterproductive for developing countries to use strategies and policies developed for high-income economies. There are no quick fixes. Therefore, it is unrealistic for a developing country to expect to go from uncontrolled dumping of waste to a ‘modern’ state of the art waste management system in one great leap. Rather, the process should be locally sensitive, critical and creative and owned by the community of concern. By adopting this approach, many cities and small towns in other developing countries have recorded considerable progress while the same cannot be said of cities in Nigeria, where there appears to be a lack of understanding and appreciation of the enormity of the challenges posed by MSW. The main aim of this study therefore, is to understand the real issues, challenges and contexts of MSW management in developing countries, using the Nigerian city of Aba as a case study. The study adopted a purely qualitative methodology, and by utilising the approach of Post Normal Science (PNS) and Adaptive Methodology for Ecosystem Sustainability and Health AMESH), particular attention was given to the oral testimonies and lived experiences of the participants drawn from the wider peer community of stakeholders of MSW management in the city. The results provide the first historical review of MSW management in Aba and show that, over the period reviewed; the MSW management processes remained rudimentary, often involving the evacuation of refuse from one point to another. It also shows that currently, indiscriminate dumping, littering and illegal dumping of refuse is common in the city. Further analysis of the data revealed the inadequacies in the national sanitation policy and the current MSW management system implemented by ASEPA – the agency responsible for MSW management in the city. The level of planning and organisation of MSW management activities was found to be shambolic and there were shortages in manpower and availability of equipment needed to effectively collect and dispose waste. The common method of waste disposal was found to be open dumping in dumpsites that were unplanned and unsanitary. Despite these realities, the study found that contrary to the commonly held popular notion that residents of Aba prefer a dirty environment to a clean one, most participants in this study showed a good understanding of the implication of poor MSW management practices on public health, and expressed willingness to pay higher sanitation fees if it will guarantee a cleaner environment. To curb most of the conflicts that currently exist between ASEPA and other stakeholder groups and move towards sustainable MSW management as indicated in the sustainable development goals (SDGs) and millennium development goals (MDGs), the direction of travel of MSW management in the city must change form a modernisation approach of expending scarce public resources on imported sophisticated refuse collection and transportation vehicles, that are unsuitable and does not stand the test of time for various reasons; to adopting a local approach that encourages genuine participation of all relevant stakeholders in the policy decision making, design, implementation and evaluation of the MSW management system. Such approach will help improve the livelihood of informal waste workers who are currently maligned, intimidated and harassed by MSW management authorities.