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Waste is a continually growing problem at global, regional and local levels and one of the most intractable problems for local authorities in urban centres. With continuous economic development and an increase in living standards, the demand for goods and services is increasing quickly, resulting in a commensurate increase in per capita waste generation (Narayana, 2008). Solid waste management is the most pressing environmental challenge faced by urban and rural areas of Nigeria with its population exceeding 170 million. Nigeria is one of the largest producers of solid waste in Africa. Despite a lot of policies and regulations, solid waste management in the country is assuming alarming proportions with each passing day (Bakare, 2016). Presently, the methods of handling waste in Nigeria are detrimental to environmental and human health. With no operational material recovery facility (MRF) and weak enforcement of sustainable waste management practices in Nigeria, solid waste disposal in open non-sanitary dumpsites (often set on fire) will continue with its damning consequences (Unaegbu, 2016). Open burning of refuse poses serious environmental and health risks for people directly exposed to emitted smoke.
The sustainable development goals 2, 3, 6, 7, 11, 12, 13, 14 and 15 which are zero hunger, good health and wellbeing, clean water and sanitation, affordable and clean energy, sustainable cities and communities, responsible consumption and production, climate action, life below water and life on land respectively all depend on the attitude of people to managing waste. The indiscriminate disposal of wastes into water courses, drainages, the burning of wastes openly and land filling has led to flooding, increase in the prevalence of endemic diseases, respiratory problems and air pollution. In advanced countries, the effective waste management frameworks ensure that the processes involved from generation to disposal are efficiently carried out whilst having minimal impact on the environment (Ukpong & Udofia, 2011). Globally, the never-ending rural-urban migrations have continued to take their toll on most cities. The love for ostentatious lifestyles by the people at the upper and middle classes has continuously resulted in increased waste generation.
It is believed that the rate of environmental degradation is increasing very fast. The rate of transformation of the earth is very rapid especially in the developing countries that are currently undergoing industrialization. Maintaining a balance between the environment, economy and people has become a top priority to the communities, enterprise organizations, government and the world at large. Countries must work towards a sustainable environment.
1.2 The Situation in Lagos State
Within the available resources, the Lagos State Environmental Protection Agency and the Lagos State Waste Management Agency have tried to enlighten the citizens on the importance of proper waste disposal and overall management, a lot of people still find it hard to be environmentally responsible. Lagos is the smallest state in Nigeria but ironically inhabits the highest number of people in the country due to its status as one of the most industrialized cities the country can boast of. Lagos state generates about 13000 tonnes of waste daily (Akoni, 2015). The conventional methods of waste disposal have been to dump waste in water courses, drainages, uncompleted buildings, roadsides and now potholes. During the rains, it is always a terrible sight in locations close to large water courses like Ikorodu and Lagos Island. Drainages become clogged, roads are blocked which predispose residents to accidents. According to Otitoju (2014), “Lagos state does not possess an integrated waste management plan as the wastes are just collected, transported to landfills and burnt to reduce volume. Most recycling in Lagos state is carried out by segregation from mixed waste streams by scavengers at the dumpsites”. There is no policy addressing buy-back programs or trade-in programs to enable people with old items exchange them for new ones for a calculated fee. Waste is hardly sorted from their sources which makes recycling expensive as a result of cleaning the commingled recyclables. The illegal cart pushers are still seen carrying out their activities without caution. The recycling banks purportedly provided by LAWMA have not been sighted in most estates as expected. It is however worthy to note that some commendable initiatives have partnered with LAWMA, an agency charged with the responsibility of waste management in the state to use customised cargo and electric bicycles to navigate low income areas, collect recyclable materials from household in exchange of household items and cash. This has been very productive in the areas served. Waste collection activities are the most expensive in waste management systems and its efficiency would have immediate impact on the level of municipal solid waste management (Zaini, 2011).
Consequently, the state has now intervened with a view to improving waste collection and disposal through its partnership with the private sector in a joint venture. This joint venture however, has not been able to solve the problem totally due to some administrative inefficiencies and lack of proper monitoring and enforcement of applicable policies. The state’s recycling facilities are far from being adequate to serve the populace. Households are considered major sources of solid waste in comparison to other sources of generation such as educational and commercial institutions or the municipal (from cleaning of public places such as streets). In addition to generating a large part of the organic waste component especially food, households also generate waste such as plastic, glass, metal, paper and rags, and others which are harmful such as batteries, vehicular parts, among others (Idowu et al.,, 2011).
Lagos, one of the smallest in terms of land mass is the most populous in the country. Being a former country capital and abode to industrial and commercial activities, there has been high influx of people into the state. The suburbs of the state have been recipients to people who cannot further afford the cost of living on the Lagos mainland as a result of recent economic crisis. One of those suburbs is Ikorodu and has been chosen for this study as a result of the recent influx of people from other parts of the state due to the lower cost of living and government intervention in terms of basic social amenities.
Wastes are an unavoidable part of human activity. They can occur as a result of our productive activities or as a by-product of the materials we consume. The description of solid waste is not based on the physical form of the material but on the fact that the material is a waste. The description of waste varies between people, industries and countries. Waste can be described as materials or items that are not primarily produced for the market and at the same time the person generating it does not need it and intends to dispose it. Nelson et al. (2009) described waste as solid or liquid materials which are discarded as used, useless, worthless or excess items. An example of waste is the excess gas flared due to lack of storage facilities during crude oil exploration. Though waste could be worthless to the generator, it could be recycled to recover energy and make other products. An example of recycled waste is polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles which is broken down to make polyester fibre for football jerseys.
Waste can be classified based on their source, type and properties. The table below shows waste classification by source. There are a lot of similarities between waste types from different source. Depending on the context and view at hand, all categorizations and classifications are valid.
The conventional waste management process simply involves the removal of waste from the points of generation which in most cases are urban areas, and destruction (Udofia & Ukpong, 2011). These practices include open burning, burying, and dumping in canals and drainages. The door to door collection system adopted by the private sector under the umbrella of private sector partnership (PSP) operates a billing system that charges according to apartment type. This has led to the diversion of waste from landfills to open dumps and canals thus compounding the problem. This they concluded was not realistic hence, the concept of sustainability was introduced into the waste sector by experts.
Environmental degradation
The disposal and accumulation of toxic waste on land and water can affect their natural quality. On land, these wastes alter soil structure and can pollute ground water. Open dumps distort the aesthetic beauty of surroundings.
Open burning is responsible for the release of carcinogens into the atmosphere. Landfills not properly constructed can be a great source air pollution when the gas is not collected. Dumping of wastes into water ways not only pollutes the water resource but also endangers the lives of aquatic animals who mistake wastes especially plastic for food or could get entangled within.
Public health
The dumping of wastes into open drains impede the flow of waste water leading to stagnancy. Stagnant waters are home to vectors of many parasites and exposes people to these already endemic illnesses like malaria and typhoid fever.
Resource depletion
Landfills take up space that could be used for other things. If people were more responsible with consumption, trees used to produce paper and other related items would be conserved. Plastics are made from petroleum resources which are not renewable and worse still unclean sources of energy.
Climate change and global warming
It is no longer news that the highest temperatures have been recorded in 2015. Our waste behaviour has contributed immensely to the increasing concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
The World Commission on Environment and Development in its 1987 Brundtland report titled Our Common Future, defined sustainable development as “development that which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of the future generations to meet their own needs” (WCED, 1987). Sustainability is the ability of a specified system to survive and function over a specified time (Amagashie-Viglo & Nuertey, 2014).
A sustainable waste management system incorporates feedback loops, it is focused on processes, embodies adaptability and diverts wastes from disposal (Seadon, 2006). A sustainable society manages its economy and population size without exceeding all or part of the planet’s ability to support humans and other forms of life. It learns how to live within the carrying capacity: the maximum number of organisms that a local, regional or a global environment can support over a specified period. This capacity depends on the available resources and the ability of the environment to absorb, detoxify or recycle wastes produced by the use of its resource.
In developed parts of the world, sustainability encompasses ensuring that future generations are not negatively affected by environmental choices made today but for most developing countries, attention rather lies on what can be currently gained from such choices, with the future left to cater for itself (Khatib, 2011). The problem is compounded by rapid urbanization, the introduction of environmentally unfriendly materials, changing consumer consumption patterns, lack of political commitment, insufficient budgetary allocations and undedicated workforce (Oteng-Ababio, 2011).
Adewole (2009) concluded that waste management systems should take into consideration environmental and public health. The financial costs of managing waste must also be considered to justify the sustainability of any waste management system. It is therefore imperative for all stakeholders – waste generators, collectors, managers, address the achievement of sustainable waste management.
Attaining sustainability in waste management requires an option that employs environmental friendliness. Such a technique must be cost effective, efficient with minimal impacts on the environment (Taiwo, 2011). It must be appropriate for the local conditions in which it operates – technically, socially, economically, institutionally, environmentally and should be maintainable optimally over time (Van der Klundert & Anschutz, 1999).
Integrated sustainable waste management examines the physical components – collection, disposal and recycling and the governance aspects – users and service providers; financial sustainability; coherent, sound institutions underpinned by proactive policies (Wilson et al., 2013). The study suggests that efficient, effective and affordable systems should be tailored to local needs and conditions, developed with direct involvement of service beneficiaries.
Wilson (2007) explains that for an ISWM system to work efficiently and sustainably over time the following physical and non-physical elements that have been linked to solid waste management need to be addressed.
Physical elements
 Public health monitoring
 Environmental education and protection
 3Rs reduce, reuse, recycle (driven by resource values and more recently by ‘closing the loop’ and returning both materials and nutrients to beneficial use). The 3Rs are explained below:
– Source Reduction: This tops the hierarchy because of its potential to reduce system costs, prevent pollution, regulate consumption of resources and increases efficiency. Source reduction, however is not a waste management tool but can have a positive impact on waste management systems. It involves considering the ultimate destiny of products when making decisions on how products are made and which products or materials are used (Longe, Personal Communication, 2015). It can be practiced at the household level through selective buying and re-use of items.
– Re-use is using the entire or part of an item for the same or new product. After all attempts to reduce or eliminate the generation of waste have been exhausted the next preferred option is to look for opportunities to reuse items or substances which could become waste.
– Recycling (including composting): involves collecting materials, reprocessing, and or remanufacturing into new materials or products and using them.
– Recovery: This is a fourth R as described by Davidson (2011) and it is the use of materials to provide valuable services. This includes anaerobic digestion, incineration with energy recovery, gasification and pyrolysis. These produce energy and materials from waste, known Waste to Energy.
Non-physical elements i.e. the governance
 Stakeholder participation in decision making and policy formulations
 Financial sustainability which involves budgeting, cost accounting, cost reduction and control
 Sound institutions, proactive policies, enforcement, monitoring and penalties
There is no blueprint for integrated sustainable waste management. The elements highlighted are guidelines to facilitate efficient planning of ISWM (Van der Klundert & Anschutz, 1999).
1.5.2 The Case of Nepal
According to Practical Action (2008), in Nepal, a community-based sustainable waste management system was adopted between 2007 and 2008. The project developed the capacity of municipalities and stakeholders in assessing wastes, and analysing opportunities together with constraints. The project strengthened the institutional capacity of municipalities on planning and implementation of ISWM plans by setting up environmental wings that contained knowledge and resources gained from ISWM project. Scaling up and sustainability of the project was ensured through disseminating project learning, establishing links between international good practices and setting up central ISWM Resource Centre in Municipalities Association of Nepal.
1.5.3 The Case of Sweden
Freden (2015) explains that in Sweden, 99% of their waste have been kept away from the landfills. With a size similar to that of Lagos state, they have been able to tow the sustainable line by harnessing recycling and waste to energy to the fullest. As a matter of course, recycling stations are as a rule no more than 300 metres from any residential area. Most Swedes separate all recyclable waste in their homes and deposit it in special containers in their block of flats or drop it off at a recycling station. Many municipalities also encourage consumers to separate food waste. All of this is reused, recycled or composted. Newspapers are turned into paper mass, bottles are reused or melted into new items, plastic containers become plastic raw material; food is composted and becomes soil or biogas through a complex chemical process. Rubbish trucks are often run on recycled electricity or biogas. Wasted water is purified to the extent of being potable. Special rubbish trucks go around cities and pick up electronics and hazardous waste such as chemicals. Pharmacists accept leftover medicine. Swedes take their larger waste, such as a used TV or broken furniture, to recycling centres on the outskirts of the cities. There is an overall integration of different systems – energy, transportation, agricultures and waste management. This has shown that any nation with commitment can achieve sustainable waste management.
1.5.4 The Case of Moshi, Tanzania
“Moshi is a small municipality at the foot of Kilimanjaro in north east Tanzania. It has a clear focus on the cleanliness of the city, driven by concerns over public health. The citizens are very supportive – the local Chaga and Pare tribes both hold cleanliness in high esteem in their culture, regardless of income level, and are outspoken if someone litters the street. A stakeholder platform on solid waste has been active since 1999, making strategic and action plans that are subsequently implemented. Pilot projects have been used to test new models of service delivery, involving both the local private sector and community-based organisations (CBOs) that provide primary collection in unplanned settlements. As a result of these joint efforts by multiple stakeholders, Moshi has won the official title of the cleanest city in Tanzania for several years in a row. This is a result of a broader commitment of the council and citizens to urban infrastructure and governance issues, as demonstrated by their active participation in various countrywide initiatives such as the Sustainable Cities Programme and the Urban Sector Rehabilitation Programme. In order to keep the city clean and provide waste collection services to as many people as possible, the service is free to 36% of residents, based on income” (Ishengoma, 2010).
Lack of access to and inadequate facilities
There is a positive correlation between wanting to protect the environment and desiring to participate in recycling. Not until recently that LAWMA claimed to launch recycling banks in estates in Lagos state, there has been no formal access to recycling facilities. Private individuals however have been coming up with recycling and social benefit programs where residents are encouraged to sort their wastes from source and exchange their recyclable wastes for redeemable points. Nevertheless, these programs are not available in all locations. There is no recyclable material recovery centre in Ikorodu except for the scrap metals in Odongunyan. Quite a large number of residents in Ikorodu still patronise the cart pushers that dump waste in swamps despite the number of PSP operators.
Inconvenience and lack of information
This study revealed that there is a communication gap with respect to information on sustainable waste management. Efforts have been made, but they have not been sufficient. If people knew the detrimental effects of their waste behaviours, it would drive them to exhibit positive environmental attitude. People who are aware by virtue of experience in developed countries see recycling as an inconvenience due to lack of facilities and motivators.
Government policies and public mistrust of authority
Waste disposal remains a major problem for many low-income countries. The barriers and constraints to improving disposal are often governance issues. Both high capital investment and high operating costs are key barriers (Wilson et al. 2013). The lack of governmental policies, incentives, and enforcement are barriers to waste diversion. For people to be environmentally responsible, realistic regulations have to be in place with optimum enforcement, monitoring and penalties for defaulters. In the Nigerian system, corruption could hinder the proper monitoring as some people may resort to bribery as it already happens however, it is not unachievable.
Value-action gap
The discrepancy between people’s concern over the environmental harm posed by household waste and the limited action by those same people to reduce their waste or engage in other pro-environmental behaviours is referred to as the value-action gap (Fahy and Davies, 2007). This current study found out that people in Ikorodu tend to be concerned about the detrimental effects of their environmental behaviours but there is a wide gap between their intentions and their actions.
Attitude to work
Most ministries and parastatals in Nigeria are filled with people who need jobs to bring food to the table instead of adding positive value to the various placements. This is partly due to poor remuneration, lack of workers insurance, office politics and lack of orientation.
When people understand the connection between their behaviours and environmental harm, they are more likely to engage in pro-environmental behaviours (Babcock, 2009). Despite environmental education being an important driver for sustainable waste management, the aspect of environmental literacy/education has not been harnessed optimally. The waste management agencies lay more emphasis on recycling which alongside waste generation rates and composition have been the bulk of the research into waste behaviour. Waste minimization at all sources of waste, responsible consumption, retailer/manufacturer take-back programs have less impact on the environment. These areas need more attention from all stakeholders (Bulkeley & Gregson, 2009). There has been high influx of people from Lagos mainland areas to Ikorodu due to higher costs of living. This is tantamount to more waste generation, hence the choice of Ikorodu as a case study.
The aim of this study is to assess the waste management practices of households in Ikorodu and the possibilities for sustainable improvements over time. This objectives of this study are to
 Assess the current waste management practices
 Assess the level of environmental literacy and willingness of people to explore the sustainable options in waste management
 Assess the relationship between some socio-economic factors and positive environmental behaviour
 Assess the perception of residents on issues related to waste management
The study is limited to Ikorodu area of Lagos metropolis. Households were the focus of the study because they are the highest generators of waste and to harness the concept of responsible consumption hence, waste minimization, the household will be the focal point.
The following hypotheses would be tested to assess the relationship between income levels and waste behaviour; H0: There is no relationship between the income level of respondents and frequency of waste sorting in Ikorodu local government area. H1: There is a relationship between the income level of respondents and frequency of waste sorting in Ikorodu local government area.
H0: There is no relationship between the income level of respondents and how waste is stored in Ikorodu local government area.
H2: There is a relationship between the income level of respondents and how waste is stored in Ikorodu local government area.

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