Journal of Environmental Protection, 2010, 1, 384-388
doi:10.4236/jep.2010.14044 Published Online December 2010 (
Copyright © 2010 SciRes. JEP
The Practice and Challenges of Solid Waste
Management in Damaturu, Yobe State, Nigeria
Ayo Babalola1, Hassan Tsenbeya Ishaku2, Ibrahim Busu1, Mohammad Rafee Majid2
1Department of Remote Sensing, Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Engineering, Universiti Teknologi, Johor, Malaysia;
2Department of Urban and Regional Planning, Faculty of Built Environment, Universiti Teknologi, Johor, Malaysia.
Received August 4th, 2010; revised September 6th, 2010; accepted September 10th, 2010.
This paper presents an overview of the current solid waste management practices in Damaturu town and provides a
brief discussion on the future challenges. Damaturu town became a state capital in August 1991. Since then the popula-
tion has been on a steady increase mainly due to influx of people and its strategic location along axial route to major
cities in the northeast region. Wastes are being generated mainly from residential, commercial and institutional land
uses. Waste collection bins are placed at strategic locations identified by the agency and termed as high waste generating
points with wheeled plastic waste bins, metal waste bins and constructed waste bunkers. The contents of these bins are
finally disposed of at a location 6 kilometers away from the generating points. Spatial data on waste distribution was
collected using a global positioning system (GPS). The data was manipulated and processed using Geographic infor-
mation system (GIS) to produce the waste distribution map. Findings revealed that the existing solid waste management
system is inefficient as the present practice rely on monthly collection and disposal of waste using an open dump site.
Keywords: Practice and Challenges, Solid Waste Management, Damaturu, GIS, GPS
1. Introduction
Solid waste management has become a global problem
especially in the developing countries of the world. In
Nigeria, for instance it is not unusual to see heaps of
garbage in the major cities littering the streets, dumped in
drains, vacant plots, and water bodies, and this has in
many cases resulted in spread of communicable diseases.
The situation appears to continue unabated due largely to
the factors of urbanization, population growth, improved
life style and insufficient funds to properly manage solid
waste [1].
Statistics show that the population growth rate of Ni-
geria as at 1991 was 3.0% and an urban growth rate of
about 5.5% per annum, while the average waste genera-
tion rate is put at 0.49 kg per day [2]. Urban centers in
Nigeria has also witnessed a steady rise in waste genera-
tion due to urbanization and increase in population, for
instance Abuja the nation’s capital generates between
0.55-0.58 kg of waste per person per day, and Lagos state
one of the most populous cities in the world generated 4
million tons of waste in 1995 [3], and by year 2000, the
quantity of municipal solid waste generated in Lagos
metropolis alone was estimated to have increased to 998,
081 tons [4] while Minna the Niger state capital gener-
ates about 90 tons of solid waste per day [5] among oth-
The “Waste Management Hierarchy” (minimization,
recovery and transformation, and disposal) has been
adopted by most industrialized nations as the menu for
developing solid waste management strategies. The ex-
tent to which any one option is used within a given coun-
try however varies, depending on a number of factors,
such as topography, population density, and transporta-
tion infrastructure, socioeconomic and environmental
regulations [6]. Monitoring and managing waste is a vital
tool for proper land use planning. Sustainable planning in
growing urban agglomeration encompasses the active
development of urban open spaces. The loss of urban
green and other vacant plots does not only threaten the
urban climate and ecosystems, but it may also affect a
city’s image and the residential satisfaction in general.
Quantifiable information about waste generation and the
amount of waste distribution are essential for sustainable
planning. Therefore, monitoring and managing waste in
urban open space are required to outline the differences
of urban waste and distribution, this should encompass
The Practice and Challenges of Solid Waste Management in Damaturu, Yobe State, Nigeria
Copyright © 2010 SciRes. JEP
more than merely measuring the overall percentage of
waste that may reflect the importance of different open
spaces in specific environment. Open spaces usually
function as corridors for fresh air supply and facilitate
good air circulation in general. It also enhances the rec-
reational quality for the public and the overall image of a
The amount of provision, distribution, and the ease of
access to open spaces are key contributors to social and
ecological function in urban environments [7]. The con-
dition of open spaces underpins the functions of urban
ecosystem. Public parks and private gardens play critical
roles in supporting biodiversity and providing important
ecosystem services in urban areas [8-11]. Such spaces
also provide primary contact with biodiversity and offer
‘natural’ environment for many people [12]. It may in-
fluence the physical and mental well-being of those peo-
ple, and in the case of public open spaces, it presents
broader social benefits as the meeting places that give a
shared focus to diverse communities and neighborhoods.
Ironically, these open spaces have been taken over by
indiscriminate dumping of waste by residents thereby
changing the urban morphology. This poor management
practices have further compounded the existing situation
in the study area.
Damaturu town, the Yobe state capital is located at
longitude 11°44´40" and latitude 11°57'40" [13] and
having a total area of about 400 km2, situated in the
northeastern part of Nigeria. The main urban area con-
stituting the town occupies an area of about 20 km2. It is
bounded to the north by Niger Republic and to the east
by Borno state, to the south Gombe while to the west it
bounded with Jigawa and Bauchi states. The topography
is fairly flat with local relief usually less than 120 meters,
and wind direction from north to north-east at an average
speed of 4.89 m/s. The state lies mainly in the dry sa-
vannah belt as a result it is dry and hot for most part of
the year except in the southern part of the state which has
a mild climate. Yobe state is agriculturally productive as
it produces Groundnuts, Beans, Cotton, and Gum Arabic
whose waste adds to the already existing garbage in the
Damaturu town rose from an obscure local govern-
ment area to the status of a state capital in 1991. The
sudden change in status brought about the increase in
population from less than Ten thousand (10,000) persons
before 1991 to a Population of about 88,000 in 2006 and
now 95,000 persons [14]. The rise in the population lev-
els also brought about with it rapid economic growth and
consequently the rise in the living standards of the people.
Wastes and other contaminants from residential and other
land use land uses in Damaturu town are highly visible.
Currently, domestic solid waste management in Dama-
turu has severe problems, involving low collection rate,
unscientific disposal method (open dumping), lack of
separation and treatment mechanism in place, and burn-
ing of waste dumps without air pollution control meas-
ures in place. For better understanding of the present
solid waste management scenario in the study area, the
paper is structured as follows:
Waste collection bins are placed at strategic locations
identified by the agency and termed as high waste gener-
ating points with wheeled plastic waste bins, metal waste
bins and constructed waste bunkers. The contents of
these bins are finally disposed at a location 6 kilometers
away from the generating points [15]. This method
adopted shows that the waste collections are source-
specified approach in which the individual components
of the waste stream are sampled, sorted and weighed.
This method is useful for defining a local waste stream.
The system adopted by the agency is the public bin col-
lection system. This comprises of the collection from
different sources like residential and commercial areas
and deposited in the public bins located strategically
along street corners of the town. Wastes are not treated
before disposal at the final dumping sites. Waste mini-
mization and recycling has not gone beyond the practice
of picking and sorting through heaps of refuse or garbage.
Essentially, solid waste management in Nigeria is under
the responsibility of the Local Environmental Protection
Agency as stipulated by the [16] 1988 decree which es-
tablished the Federal Environmental Protection Agency
(FEPA). The collection of waste in Damaturu is carried
out by the Yobe State Environmental Protection Agency,
(YOSEPA) Sanitary Board and Metropolitan Council.
However; these local authorities have been overwhelmed
by the increasing rate of waste generation, collection and
transportation problems due largely to over stretched
facilities, shortages of manpower and lean budget.
2. Method of Data Collection
A retrospective study involves the collection of informa-
tion from (YOSEPA), the agency responsible for the
management of solid waste in the town. Other sources of
information include personal observations, interviews
with staff of the agency. Relevant information was also
sourced from reports, books and journals. Field surveys
were carried out in some areas and the existing official
dumpsite on the various samples of waste generated. The
field survey involved the use of global positioning
equipment to determine the position of dumpsters in the
town. Thereafter, the spatial positions of the waste col-
lection points were produced from the integration of
Geographic information system (GIS) and global posi-
tioning system (GPS) data. The names and locations
The Practice and Challenges of Solid Waste Management in Damaturu, Yobe State, Nigeria
Copyright © 2010 SciRes. JEP
(Easting and Northing coordinates) were recorded and
stored in Microsoft Excel and converted into a database
format and thereafter exported into Arc info GIS which is
concerned with the manipulation of spatial and non-spa-
tial data for processing. A layer of these points was cre-
ated and then combined with a map layer digitized from
the satellite imagery of the study area. Figure 1 show the
spatial distribution of waste collection points. Data on
monthly waste collection for the period 2003- 2009 were
also obtained from the agency responsible for waste
management. This served as the basis for comparism and
testing the hypothesis.
3. Results and Discussions
The waste compositions are as follows: Organic matter,
76.3%, Polythene and Plastic materials, 21% Metal and
tins, 2.7%. Table 1 below revealed the waste collected in
Damaturu from 2003-2009.
On the whole, the agency collected 130,823 tons of
solid waste between the periods under review, consider-
ing the average waste generation of 0.3 kg/person/day.
And the population of Damaturu of 88,000 persons in
2006 and estimated to be 96,448 persons in 2009 based
on growth rate of 3.2%. The total waste that is supposed
to have been generated over a period of seven years
stood at 73,927,392. It can be seen from Table 2 that
virtually every month, the agency collected and disposed
off waste within the town, but the amount collected re-
mained very little compared to what is seen in the dump-
sters. The amount of waste collected stood at 23,107 tons
in 2003 and 11466 tons in 2009. This implies that there
was a decline in the amount of waste collected over the
period of seven years. Table 2 below shows the descrip-
tive statistics used in calculating mean monthly waste
collection of 95% significant level.
The analysis of variance (ANOVA) was used to test
whether the mean weight of solid waste collected are the
same for year 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007, 2008 and
2009. The hypothesis can be written as [H0: µ1 = µ2 = µ3
= µ4 = µ5 = µ6 = µ7 = µ8] versus [H1: µ: µj] H0: µ1 =
µ2 = µ3 = µ4 = µ5 = µ6 = µ7 = µ8 all mean weight is not
the same while, H1: µ: µj for at least one of the mean
Figure 1. The spatial distribution of waste collection points in Damaturu.
The Practice and Challenges of Solid Waste Management in Damaturu, Yobe State, Nigeria
Copyright © 2010 SciRes. JEP
Table 1. Solid waste collection from 2003-2009 in Damaturu Town.
MONTHS/YRS 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
January 285 260 203 111 287 182 287
February 302 202 216 321 239 116 342
March 229 213 175 185 435 132 122
April 245 112 97 200 172 204 110
May 195 256 562 345 345 321 125
June 201 243 210 376 431 114 132
July 344 267 265 298 301 98 113
August 180 179 283 302 211 112 50
September 215 152 207 150 154 237 85
October 573 154 186 114 162 285 115
November 321 176 170 287 343 168 90
December 211 321 285 300 318 287 67
Total no. of trips 3301 2535 2859 2702 3398 2256 1638
Total tons 23107 17745 20013 18914 23786 15792 11466
Source: Field survey 2009; Note 1trip = 7 tons
Table 2. Descriptive statistics on solid waste collection from the year 2003-2009.
95% CI for mean
Years No of Collection
Mean of Monthly
Error Sample Variance
Max Min
2003 12 275.08 107.92 31.15 11647.54 573 180
2004 12 211.25 59.96 17.31 3595.48 321 112
2005 12 238.25 114.64 33.09 13142.75 562 97
2006 12 249.08 92.12 26.59 8486.48 376 111
2007 12 283.17 97.58 28.17 9521.79 435 154
2008 12 188 78.43 22.64 6151.27 321 98
2009 12 136.5 87.43 25.24 7644.27 342 50
Source: Field survey 2009
Table 3. Output generated by the ANOVA.
Source of Variance Sum of Squares df Mean Square F P-value F crit
Between Years 192382.2 6 32063.71 3.729 0.00262 2.219
Within Years 662085 77 8598.51
Total 854467.2 83
The Practice and Challenges of Solid Waste Management in Damaturu, Yobe State, Nigeria
Copyright © 2010 SciRes. JEP
weight is the same. H0 is rejected at the level significance
of 0.05 since the value of the F statistic (3.729) is greater
than the critical value of the F statistic, F crit (2.219).
This indicates that there is a significant difference in the
amount of waste collected from 2003-2009 at the 0.05
level of significance.
From the foregoing, it becomes clear that the agency
performed below average as heaps of garbage have taken
over access road and thereby causing traffic problems in
some parts of the town while the drainage system have
been blocked as a result of poor management practices.
4. Conclusions
The analysis of waste collected shows that there was a
decrease in the amount of waste collected from 23107
tons in 2003 to 11466 tons in 2009 during the period un-
der review. This has led to loss of aesthetic nature of the
urban landscape. Damaturu town faces the same chal-
lenges as many other urban centers in Nigeria in terms of
infrastructure deficiency, population growth and lack of
public awareness on the issue of waste management. This
study revealed that inadequate infrastructure and funding
are some of the greatest obstacles to successful waste
management practices. Despite the fact that waste can be
recycled to produce new products these wastes are cur-
rently littering every available open space. The biode-
gradable waste could be composted to organic manure
and could be used on the farms as manures. The agency
is grossly understaffed as the so called laborers are been
hired on temporary basis.
Finally, public attitude towards waste disposal is not
helping matters. Despite the presence of waste collection
bins, children especially dump their waste outside these
bins. Enlightenment campaigns should be carried to
educate the public.
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