In this modern era, one of the main challenges confronting environmental management is “municipal solid waste”, generated from different activities in towns and cities. It is a subject of deep interest for its proper management because improper management of municipal solid wastes (MSW) is one of the factors that cause water, air and soil pollution.

Industrialization, urbanization and modernization have contributed immensely to the rate of municipal solid waste production and disposal in many regions of the world; hence, proper waste management is a major interest in most cities, especially in developing nations of the globe (Zhen-Shan et al., 2009).Rapid upward changes in urbanization, population growth and lifestyles in developing countries contribute to increasing the per capita municipal waste generation. Keeping pace with these developments require commensurate growth in schemes to protecting the environment, to improving public health and accomplishing effective and efficient municipal solid waste management. This should be a priority, particularly, for cities in developing countries (Jin et al., 2006).

Any inhabitant of the world who goes back a decade realizes that his consumption changed both from the quantitative as qualitative point of view. This increase in the consumption keeps pace with the production of waste. Actually, the population growth coupled with an accelerated exploitation of the resources and the intensification of the human activities are several factors which explain the increase of the production of waste (Yemadjeet al., 2013). Every rise of 1% in population growth triggers an increase of 1.04% in production of waste (Beedeet al., 1995).

In every urban centre, large amount of solid waste is generated during various activities. These wastes are to be stored, collected, conveyed, processed and disposed off in an environmental friendly manner in order to keep the areas clean. The handling of waste has changed through the generations as our knowledge; technology of economic well-being has improved. As a necessary consequence of the production and the consumption of food, consumer goods and other products, our current society generates a substantial volume of waste materials; most of which are ultimately discarded and require collection, reuse or recycling, or disposal (Crineret al., 2011). Solid waste generation have raised concerns about the economic viability and environmental compatibility of recent waste handling systems, as not fulfilling requirements of adequately managing these wastes cause serious health hazards and nuisance (Gawaikar, 2006).

According to Tanaka (2006), solid waste generated has been predicted to rise continuously along with economic growth and development, if a lifestyle of bulk manufacturing, consumption and disposal is continued. The most obvious implication of urbanizing is the increasing generation of municipal solid waste - a deeply ignored threat with acute health and environmental implications. Local governments are desperate to find highly effective and practical techniques for enhancing solid waste management with limited budget. How to address the escalation in solid waste generation in this jet age has become an issue of necessitation. Solid waste materials block drainage systems, causing overflows during rainy seasons, especially in cities and towns. According to Foul et al. (2009), dumped solid wastes have potentials to bring about a huge amount of polluted leachate containing much concentration of harmful compounds which lead to severe destruction of the ecosystem.

Solid waste refers to undesired remains, residues, discarded items or by-products that are no longer needed for the initial use. Municipal solid wastes comprise of vegetable and market waste, glass, paper, plastic and other organic fractions and inert matter from various sources such as residential, commercial, and institutional areas. In other words, municipal solid waste - commonly known as “trash or garbage”(US),“refuse or rubbish”(UK), consists of everyday items discarded by the public including: product packages, food scraps, paper, metal, plastics, ceramics, textiles, leather, ashes and bones, rubber, coconut husk, used batteries etc. These types of wastes pose health and environmental menace when improperly managed.

In spite of the improved development of science and technology, solid waste management is still a serious environmental problem for most communities all over the world (Su et al., 2008). Municipal solid waste management is one of the most vital issues in the contemporary urban environments; especially in developing countries (Vikramet al., 2010).Waste disposal management continues to be a rising challenge to developing communities, as population grows along with the industrial development of countries. This problem has become quite hard to curb, especially in emerging countries, as human health is under threat, roadsides blocked by generated wastes. One of the reasons why this situation is so is that, “a negative relationship exists between population densities in cities and towns and rise in per capita waste generation, on one hand, and available waste disposal sites on the other hand” (Adjaottoret al., 2014).

According to Bartelings and Sterner (1999), the management of solid waste from households is important for two reasons:

  • Landfill space is becoming a scarce resource in many countries
  • More profound is perhaps the concern that ecological damage from hazardouscomponents even in the efficiently collected waste by the municipality will not automatically alleviate the concern about the spread of hazardous waste into the environment. In addition, according to Unites States Environmental Protection Agency, the various options of solid waste management include;
  • Source reduction and reuse (waste prevention)
  • Recycling and composting
  • Incineration (waste combustion)
  • Disposal in Landfills (that is, old and abandoned quarries and mining sites)

With an exponential increase of the production of waste worldwide, the question of waste begins by firmly raising the awareness in front of environmental and sanitary problems. In the more            developed countries, this issue is raised less. This is understandable by the fact that they have access to qualified financial and human resources which they dedicate to an effective management of waste. In these countries, waste is transported towards wastage places for valuation (Yemadjeet al.,2013).

Improper management of solid waste in most cities of developing countries leads to problems that impair human and animal health and ultimately result in economic, environmental and biological losses (Sharholyet al.,2007;2008) since landfill disposal and waste-to-energy(WTE) incineration remains the two principal options for managing municipal solid waste in most parts of the world(Moy et al.,2008).Leachate from municipalities’ landfills presents a potential health risk to both surrounding ecosystems and human populations(Salem et al.,2008). In addition, waste management activities are said to contribute to global greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 4%. In particular, the disposal of waste in landfills generates methane that has high global warming potential (Papegeorgiouet al.,2009).

Information pertaining to the composition of solid waste provides critical data for the development of waste management plans. Waste minimization can only be carried out efficiently and effectively with accurate waste composition data. Adequate waste composition data are needed to ascertain the impacts of certain types of waste and to determine the life of a landfill. Waste composition varies from time to time and from place to place, depending on seasons or weather conditions(Idriset al.,2004).All types of municipal solid wastes are collected and mixed together at community bins. It is quite demanding to keep a record of quantity of waste generation from areas. Hence, a primary requirement to help accomplish this is accurate and dependable information on solid waste characterization and quantification. It has been noticed that 60-75% of generated waste is disposed off at landfill sites; others are disposed off into drainages or along roadsides (Deshpandeet al.,2008).

Municipal solid waste disposal is an integral and the last phase of municipal solid waste management process which aims at discards solid wastes which are by-products of human and animal activities. Municipal solid waste management depends on both the disposal sites and the characteristics of the MSW such as: gross composition, particle size, moisture content, chemical composition and density (Endaluet al., 2014).

Solid Waste Characterization is a means by which collected waste samples are divided into different components such as decomposable or organic wastes (i.e. food wastes, grasses, leaves), rubbish (paper, plastic, metal, glass, textiles, etc) and ash residues(materials remaining from burning of wood, coal, coke, etc). Solid waste characterization study is fundamental to any proper planning of solid waste management in any community. It entails inquiring about how much solid waste are discarded in a waste stream. Waste characterization data assist in planning waste minimization schemes, establishment of recycling or reuse programmes, thereby minimizing money and resources (,2015).

Waste characterization is a rudimentary concept in any Municipal Waste Management Scheme (MWMS) of urban solid waste, in a city, although such data are not gathered in many African cities (Guadalupe, 2009). Characterization of municipal solid waste is simply a descriptive means of identifying the various constituents of the waste stream in terms of quantity and quality generation, taking into account, the location and seasons in which these waste are generated. In other words, it is a means of finding out how much waste is discarded in a municipal waste stream.

Data on solid waste characterization are composed of information on the types and quantities of materials in the waste stream and are dependent on some factors like; food habits, cultural tradition, socio-economic and climatic conditions, etc. It varies not only from city to city, but even within the same city itself (Gawaikar, 2004). In addition, the composition and characteristics of municipal solid waste are influenced by factors such as the area (whether residential, institutional or commercial), economic level (variance between high and low income earning regions), seasons and climatic conditions (distinction in the population density during the year, tourist places, etc) as well as the tradition and norms of people residing or doing business transactions in the community. High-income earning communities usually produce more inorganic materials or rubbish (such as paper, plastics), whereas low-income earning regions produce more of organic waste. Incorrectly sited open solid waste disposal sites result in health hazards and depletion in the aesthetic beauty of many cities (Napoleon et al., 2011).

According to Gawaikar (2004), characterization of MSW assists in evaluation of the amount of waste generated in a particular region or area at a particular period of the year. This aids in identifying the trend of generation. It also enhances proper planning of solid waste management, estimation of the dimension and number of functional units and equipments required for waste management and the required resources for environmental protection and public health. Also, solid waste characterization is vital to ascertain its possible environmental impacts on nature as well as on the society at large (Alagmiret al., 2005). Municipal solid waste data are sometimes measured both in volume (m3 per capita per day), and in weight (kg per capita per day). Finally, effective management of municipal solid waste is very vital and could provide environmental benefits and sustainable development, as well as reduce adverse impacts on public health. To address both the earth’s dwindling resources and the growing mountains of waste, many countries have introduced statutory waste minimization and recovery targets to ensure judicious use of these resources. The general public does not make the link between the two and tend to be generally more concerned with the effect that waste has on the environment at large (Emery et al., 2007). For effective waste management system for sustainable development, premiums have to be placed on waste characterization studies, hence, the need to carry out this research in the university of Benin municipality.


In the last few years, waste generated in the University of Benin has been on the increase due to the expansion of human activities as a result of increase in population because of high influx of newly admitted students from various parts of the country. University of Benin is an institutional area, hence, a municipality. There exists a poor status of municipal solid waste management programmes caused by inadequate financial and human resources as well as organizational inefficiencies with the municipal bodies; limited surveys conducted as regarding solid waste generation rate; limited data recorded, both on composition and quantity of generated municipal waste; poor handling and poor application of engineering-based technologies which are crucial for effective management of solid waste generated. Solid waste disposal has therefore become a major issue in the campus. In fact, poor state of solid waste management in the University of Benin is now not only and environmental problem, but also a social handicap. Among the problems existing in the fast-growing University of Benin, solid waste appears to be one of the most prominent in recent years. There is currently no organized waste disposal and management system, hence, solid waste is seen in huge heaps on any piece of unused land, around buildings, and in the open commercial centres. Living with solid waste littered around appears to be acceptable amongst people in the campus.

Also, policy makers in the waste management sector in the University of Benin municipality are faced with the problem of how to project and therefore fairly predict the amount and the composition of MSW that is likely to be generated in the near future in order to devise the most appropriate disposal strategy. The present scenario in which waste collection and management is from a central collection point to the main dumping site, is inefficient and not reliable.

University of Benin municipality has not yet developed its centre of hierarchy, as evidently shown by:

  • No incremental levels of waste reduction, recycling and reuse.
  • No technology-based waste management.
  • No specific basis of strategy to encourage movement up the hierarchy.


1.3       AIM

The purpose of this study is to assess the amount of municipal solid waste generated daily in the University of Benin community and characterize the municipal solid waste, so as to obtain a comprehensive data at the community level for use in setting the basis for planning, strategizing and implementation of a sustainable waste management programme at the University of Benin municipality to address some of the inefficiencies in solid waste management for sustainable development.

1.4       OBJECTIVES

This study seems to achieve the following objectives:

  • Collect solid waste samples from different areas of the school.
  • Evaluate existing solid waste generation rate.
  • Estimate the average daily generation rate (kg generated/capita/day).
  • Identify and categorize, in a systematic way, the waste fractions involved.
  • Estimate composition of waste samples by direct waste analysis.
  • Estimate the total waste arising.
  • Determine how socio-economic factors influence the quantum and type of waste generated.
  • Suggest practices that will improve effectiveness, efficiency, integration, accountability and optimize municipal solid waste management.
  • Suggest the best disposal method that will be needed for effective waste disposal in the school.

1.5       SCOPE OF WORK

This study centres on the following:

  • Solid waste generation and in-depth characterization of the waste from selected areas in University of Benin municipality and their current solid waste generation rate.
  • Analysis of the samples to determine the composition of solid waste in the different areas for seven days each.

The research questions of this study are:

  • What is average daily generation rate of municipal solid waste (kg/capita/day)?
  • How efficient is the waste management system in the municipality?
  • How can municipal solid waste management system be improved in the municipality?
  • Which of the socio-economic classes have the highest solid waste generation rate?
  • What is the best waste disposal method?


The main problem facing policy makers in the waste management sector in most urban areas is their inability to make appropriate future predictions of the amount and the composition of MSW likely to be generated over a period so as to devise the most appropriate disposal strategy. The importance of reliable information on both the quantity and composition of municipal solid waste for the effective planning of waste handling infrastructure underscore the role this study may play. With the data, hopefully, some model structure can be developed to reasonably manage MSW in the locality where this work is being undertaken.



The findings of this study will help waste management authorities in the University of Benin community make more informed policy-related and strategic decisions in determining the most efficient waste management system in the local context in prioritizing disposal types, and in determining the measures needed to support the implementation of such initiatives.

Also, this study will shed more light on some benefits of waste characterization and proper waste management such as:

  • Enabling recommendation of the best disposal methods of the waste, hence, preventing health and environmental hazards.
  • Assisting in proper planning of waste management, and is an integral element involved in keeping our environment safe.


Only University of Benin community in Benin-City will be considered as case study for the work. Other regions in Benin-City will not be considered. Also, this study is restricted solely to municipal solid waste, and not industrial waste, agricultural waste, mining and quarrying waste, bio-hazardous waste and radioactive waste. In addition, the following waste will not be included;

  • Gaseous or liquid waste.
  • Waste from construction, industries and unconventional units.

EDITOR SOURCE: Characterization and disposal of municipal solid waste

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