Space, population and waste management in Ibadan.

Author:Moruff, Mudasiru


Most cities in Nigeria are faced with the twin problems of population increase and rapid expansion. These phenomena have no doubt, brought increasing strain on urban infrastructure facilities. One area in which this strain has become most obvious is in waste management where the existing system appears to be incapable of coping with the mountain load of waste generated and heaped on the surface (Ogunleye, 2003).

Over the last few centuries the scale and diversity of urban wastes generation has increased globally. And by implication, waste products and pollutions has become an unpleasant price usually paid for urbanization and industrialization. But the burdens of wastes are not necessary borne by those that benefit from the development. Perhaps, when human population was low especially when they were non-sedimentary and had little in the way of technology, and thus, waste tend to pose few problems. However, when population increases in a space and engages in high industrial production, waste generation also grows and in some space constitutes both health and environmental problems (Barrow, 2005:249). In many cities of the world, as urbanization is an indication of growth in population, there is an increase in resident and industrial production which creates more wastes. Thus, waste management is a great challenge of urban development. To put it more succinctly, although humans have interacted with the environment from time immemorial, it was not devastating as it is today. Thus the level of degradation of today is of great concern to all and sundry because the issue of the environment poses a serious threat to our survival, such that the three basic human needs of food, shelter and clothing are obtained from the environment. Therefore the protection and development of the environment is the protection of our life and existence. Today as many people dream to live in urban areas, their quality of life and the quality of their environment depends upon how cities look and how they function. Cities are also the places where business is done, investments are made, and where jobs are created, so cities represent the place where the environmental thrives (Barrow, 2005; Ogu, 2000; Omoleke, 2004, Taiwo, Alabi, 2005).

Although the scale and intensity of the problems vary from city to city, or from one state to another, the common set of issues can be identified. These may include: poor air quality, traffic volumes and congestion, high levels of ambient noise and scarcity of quiet areas for sport, play and recreational areas, neglect of the built environment, high level of greenhouse gas emissions, urban sprawl, and the generation of large volumes of waste and waste water. These environmental challenges are serious and have significant impacts on health, the environment, and overall economic performance.

In Oyo state (Nigeria), despite the unrelenting efforts by the successive government to tackle the problem of waste management, especially in the Ibadan metropolis, the challenge has remained intractable, with no end in sight.

And the most visible aspect of this problem is improper solid waste disposal, which manifests in the forms of refuse being thrown on roadways, spread on walkways, and dumped into the drainages. This waste obstructs the free flow of drainages, thereby creating conditions for mosquitoes to breed, and moreover, the problem becomes more compounded during the rainy seasons when the content of the drainages are usually emptied on the highways, and many bury or burning their waste in open space or disposed of it haphazardly by the side of the roads. Hence, these identifiable environmental problems are not only problems of technology and industry, of ecology and biology, of pollution control and pollution prevention, but also social in the sense that environmental problems are problems for society which ultimately threatens existing patterns of social organization and challenge us to change negative patterns of organization created by people who must resolve them.

Thus, the aim of this paper is to explore the interface between space and the waste disposal habits of people in Ibadan metropolis, the core area of the city, where the menace manifest itself most and where residents are most venerable/prone to adverse consequences of environmental neglect which are more pronounced in Nigeria because of particular geologic, climatic and cultural factors coupled with cultural factors and existing lifestyles of people and their reaction to urbanization and the dynamics of their spatial heritage. Therefore, the attainment of sustainable development will remain a mirage in Nigeria and other developing countries if the current rate of urban population growth and environmental decay in not matched with proportionate sustainable and environmentally friendly development practices.

Ibadan Ethnographically

Ibadan is located on an undulating plain with a ridge of eight quartzite hills separating the city into eastern and western sectors, situated at an average height of 200 m above sea level, that is drained by four river basins and surrounded by secondary rainforest and savannah. According to Falola (2009), Ibadan emerged as a city around 1830 at a time of political turmoil in Yorubaland, the cultural region of the Yoruba people in a search for peace and security by the Oyo refugees driven out of their homeland by the crisis that led to the fall of Oyo Empire. Thus Ibadan first served as a camp for refugees before it grow to a full-fledged town, and later it attained the status of a city-state with the largest population in the cultural region of the Yoruba people to represent the largest indigenous city in tropical Africa with Oyo state as the capital (one of the 36 states in Nigeria) situated 128 km northeast of Lagos and 345 km

Southwest of Abuja, the federal capital of Nigeria. Hence, today, the total population of the cultural region of the Yoruba is approximately 50 million people spread throughout West Africa (particularly, Benin and Togo), with the largest numbers of people found in Nigeria.

The city has grown particularly through the establishment of certain institutions and the construction of roads and the railway with the convergence of two major trade routes (through Ijebu and Abeokuta) in Ibadan which accelerated the growth of the city. Today, five primary roads and an expressway from Lagos radials converge in Ibadan from different directions, and thus, most of the South Western States in Nigeria have its hinterland for the procurement of specialized goods and services in the city. And more importantly, the city can be classified into seven morphological sections which represent particular housing-population densities, types and levels of infrastructural facilities, and environmental and sanitary characteristics with the core area consisting of: the older suburb, and the newer eastern and western suburb, the post-1952 suburb, the government-reserved areas (GRAs), and the government-planned residential estates (at Bodija and Oluyole) with more than half of the entire population living in the inner city (Onibokun and Kumuyi, 1999). Hence, the present situation of Ibadan, according to Onibokun (1970) illustrates the typical housing and environmental problems that plague most of the large indigenous urban centers in other parts of Africa, and in Asia and Latin America.

Therefore the core area of city is problematic, because it is:

  1. dominated by a cluster of completely built dwellings and except for the intervening floodable land, and open spaces are almost non-existing in the entire built-up area;

  2. apart from the main road, which divides the core area, it has few roads that cut through the original compounds;

  3. the roads of the city are inadequate for modern motor traffic (hence, prohibiting waste tractors traffic);

  4. the majority of the city part, including the inner core and south-eastern section is unplanned;

  5. the inner core is dense with minimal infrastructure and social amenities (in most parts, accessibility is only available via footpaths), and its "planned" area is really a host of small developments that historically began with colonial enclaves

Considering the above challenges, this presentation is based on a systematic study of the peoples and cultures of the city within a cultural context wherein it is observed from the point of view of the peoples and cultures of the study via qualitatively data collected from twenty communities in the Beere/Oje axis of the Ibadan metropolis where poor waste disposal habit was most visible in 2010 that engaged a selection of informants based on random sampling, and a purposive and snowball sampling approach combined with structured and unstructured interviews of key informants), focus group discussion, and observational techniques were used to elicit relevant data from population of adults who are knowledgeable and astute to the consequences and effects of improper and inadequate waste disposable methods.

In addition, officials and agencies concerned with waste management were sampled and interviewed....

To continue reading