Potential occupational health effects of municipal solid waste management in Nigeria, the case of Lagos and Ibadan
Municipal Solid Waste Management (MSWM), which include generation of wastes, collection, transportation, recycling and reuse, and disposal poses threat to humans especially the waste handlers and managers and the entire ecosystem. In this study, relevant data and information about the health hazards associated with MSWM were gathered using structured questionnaires administered to three different categories of municipal solid waste (MSW) handlers namely; Domestic Waste Handlers (DWHs), Highway Waste Managers (HWMs) and Dumpsite Waste Managers and Scavengers (DWMSs) in Lagos and Ibadan. Site visits and interviews were conducted to evaluate the general health status of the waste managers and the current MSWM practises in the cities. The results showed that personal protective equipment were not used by many of the managers; wastes were not segregated at the point of generation and/or collection, waste from different sources such as industrial, agricultural, household, commercial etc., some of which contained hazardous materials were codisposed in open dumpsites. Thus, exposure of solid waste managers to hazardous substances in the waste stream was apparent, which might cause diseases such as skin infections among others as a result of improper and unsustainable MSWM. The lack of and none usage of personal protective equipment alongside with the ignorance of the waste handlers may results in occupational health hazards associated with MSWM. These people had suffered for ailments from occupational exposure to toxic, hazardous and infectious substances present in the waste stream. Hence, the needs for proper training, awareness raising and enlightenment of the waste handlers on the risks and health hazards of improper protection and haphazard solid waste management. The need for sustainable and integrated waste management is recommended.
Keywords: Municipal solid waste, Health hazard, Dumpsite, Waste handler, Waste management