Most developing countries are facing new constraints and pressure with regard
to solid waste management (Nnorom and Osibanjo, 2006).
Waste management has been a hot issue at national, regional and international
levels. There appears to be few, if any, formal take-back program for end-of-life
products such as batteries, electronics, automobile tires and other parts in
Nigeria (Nnorom and Osibanjo, 2006; Osibanjo
and Nnorom, 2007). Formal recycling program for waste materials is required
urgently in order to achieve resource conservation and environmental protection.
Nigeria, with a large population put at about 140 million by the last census
and increasing industrialization, large quantities of industrial and Municipal
Solid Waste (MSW) are generated and disposed in the country. These waste materials
end up in open dumps or buried at unlined (approved or unapproved) sites. The
disposal of these waste materials at open dumps could result in the release
of a cocktail of toxic chemicals into the aquifer. Such toxic materials could
also be leached by storm runoff into surface water bodies used for domestic
purposes. The open burning of such waste materials (which are often cited within
inhabited areas) results in emissions of toxic gaseous materials. The emitted
particulates (which are subsequently deposited) and the resulting ash and cinder
present potential risk to human health and the environment. This waste management
approach, apart from posing danger to the environment and human health, constitutes
nuisance-odor, smoke, insects and pests infestation and impairment of landscape
and view of the surroundings.
Participation rate in recycling programs (and in environmental protection programs
in general) determines the effectiveness of such programs. Hence there is a
need to assess information on the willingness of residents to support any program
aimed at protecting the environment. It has been recognized that there are numerous
predictors of behavioral intention and that situational and psychological factors
can also intervene to effect the intention-behavior relationship (Taylor
and Todd, 1995).
Considerable literature is available on the description and analysis of individual
recycling behavior especially on the psychological and sociological factors
(De Young, 1986; Tucker, 1999;
Oskamp et al., 1991). Studies have been conducted
in order to assess the participation in environmental protection especially
in recycling programs. These studies have most often focused on:
||The frequency of recycling in urban/rural curbside programs
||Factors influencing participation in recycling programs
||Generation of recyclables by households
||Psychological and/or sociological factors that influence household
participation in recycling
Unfortunately, there are few formal recycling programs for recyclables in Nigeria.
Most existing recycling programs are in the informal sector and are rarely backed
by legislation. Landfills constructed using appropriate technologies are rare
in the country. Even where landfills are available, the landfilling of household
wastes without treatment or recovery is wasteful because of landfill space required
and materials that could be recovered (Sekito et al.,
2003). However, concern over environmental deterioration have been increasing
as people become more aware of the possible hazards of inappropriate waste disposal
practices especially the common practices of open burning of wastes within residential
arrears. Several factors affect the attitude of residents towards waste management
and environmental protection in general. These include:
For example, it has been observed that women tend to be involved in waste reduction
activities than men (Barr et al., 2001), while
higher age groups (older respondents) have also been noted to follow this trend
compared to the younger generation (Barr et al.,
2001; Long, 1997). Similarly, studies have also noted
that recyclers had on average greater income than non-recyclers whereas the
recycling behavior of friends and neighbors are determining factors of the attitudes
of respondents (Long, 1997; Oskamp
et al., 1991). Series of studies have been carried out with the aim
of assessing the behavior and attitude of residents in both developed and developing
countries towards environmental issues (Sivek, 2002;
Tarrant and Cordell, 1997; Porter
et al., 1995; Taylor and Todd, 1995).
The search for a sustainable future for the earth is rapidly shifting towards
the notion of think global, act local (Steel, 1996).
Encouraging people to use their cars less, turn down the thermostat, switch
the tap off when brushing their teeth and recycle the waste that they produce
have all been advocated by governmental organizations. Indeed, these behaviors
are regularly related to national and local environmental issues to provide
them with more resonance. Oskamp (1995) has made a compelling
case for social science in general and social psychology in particular, to become
in the search for a sustainable future for our planet. It is argued here that
the waste problem is one that is likely to be resolved only when policies are
implemented that are based on a clear understanding of what factors influence
individual intentions and behaviors, which in turn have to be grounded in rigorous
This study examines the willingness of residents of two towns (Isuikwuato in Abia State and Okigwe in Imo State) bordering Abia State University in Southeastern Nigeria to support any effort at checking the rate of environmental deterioration in Nigeria. Questionnaires were employed by the authors to measure the level of awareness and concern about the rate of environmental deterioration, environmental quality in the country as well as assess the willingness of residents to support any initiative to curb environmental deterioration in the country. Our model incorporates variables such as awareness of environmental degradation and willingness to check environmental deterioration.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
The study areas: This research was undertaken in two towns (Isuikwuato and Okigwe local Government areas) surrounding Abia State University (Southeastern Nigeria). The two towns were selected for this study because of the following:
||They host many youths (university students, traders, etc.)
who are the ones to make any difference in waste management in the future,
if the right conditions are created
||They host a mixture of rural and urban dwellers
||The residents are from various states of the country especially
states in the eastern part of the country and are not just residents of
these two towns
||The population of both towns have witnessed a significant
increase in recent times, as a result of which large quantities of household
wastes are currently being managed. Leao et al.
(2004) observed that the management of waste disposal is closely linked
to the dynamics of urban development and population growth and thus generally
leads to increasing waste generation
STRUCTURE OF THE QUESTIONNAIRE
Data for this study were collected from questionnaires distributed to 1000 (500 in each of the study Areas) available respondents between February and May 2009. The survey instrument focused on respondents willingness to participate in curbing the rate on environmental deterioration and assess the level of awareness of environmental deterioration and general concern about the trend in the country. It also aims at surveying the rating of environmental quality in Nigeria. Few well structured questions were selected in order not to bore the respondents and yet achieve the aim of the study.
The questionnaire contained 8 questions with four major parts:
||Part A: Characteristics of participants/respondents:
This section gathers information about the participants. This includes the
gender, age and level of education and income (4 questions)
||Part B: Measurement of concern and awareness of the deteriorating
environment: The concern and perception of the participants towards
environmental issues was assessed. Concern over the environment was assessed
using the options: (1) Not concerned, (2) not very concerned, (3) concerned
and (4) very concerned while awareness of the deteriorating environment
was assessed using a yes or no question (2 questions)
||Part C: Measurement of environmental quality: This
section assessed environmental quality in Nigeria using the options: (1)
Very high, (2) high, (3) low and (4) very low (1 question)
||Part D: Measurement of willingness to participate in reducing:
The rate of environmental deterioration. The options used are: (1) Not willing
at all, (2) not very willing, (3) willing and (4) very willing (1 question)
The questionnaires were administered using the contact and collect method in
which the researchers personally delivers and collects the questionnaires. The
questionnaires were administered in English language only. Studies such as this
may present over-estimates as declared behavior may defer from actual behavior.
Literature has shown that declared behaviors, whilst probably over-estimate
of actual action, are likely to be proportionally accurate (Barr
et al., 2001).
MODELING WILLINGNESS TO PARTICIPATE IN CURBING THE RATE OF ENVIRONMENTAL DETERIORATION
A model was developed to estimate willingness to participate in curbing environmental deterioration. Respondents selected their willingness to participate from four alternatives:
When the response variable is ordinal and has more than two levels, researchers
have a choice between ordered logistic regression (ordered logit) and ordered
probit models. Considering that the ordered probit is theoretically superior
to most other models for the data analyzed in this study. The following specification
||Latent and continuous measure of willingness to participate
in curbing the rate of environmental deterioration
||A vector of observations of explanatory variables
||A vector of parameters to be estimated
||A random error term (assumed to follow a standard normal distribution
The observed and coded discrete willingness variable, yn, is determined
from the model as follows:
where, the μi's represent the thresholds to be estimated along with the parameter vector, β.
The probabilities associated with the coded responses of an ordered probit model are as follows:
where, n is an individual, k is a response alternative, P(yn = k) is the probability that individual n responds in manner k and Φ(.) is the standard normal distribution function. This multivariate approach makes it possible to examine the joint influence of several independent variables on the dependent variable which is not obtainable through correlation or contingency table analysis.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
Table 1 shows a breakdown of responses by category on willingness to participate in curbing environmental deterioration. About 28.1% of our respondents are very willing to participate in any program initiated with the aim of curbing environmental deterioration in the country. A breakdown of responses for awareness about the deteriorating environment indicates that about 53.2% of our respondents are very much aware of the rate of deteriorating environmental condition in the country while 46.8% of the respondents answered No to the question are you aware of the deteriorating environmental conditions in the country?. This may indicate that a significant proportion of the respondents are still unaware of the ugly trend.
Breakdown of responses on awareness and concern about the deteriorating environment are shown in Table 2 and 3, respectively while that on environmental quality is shown in Table 4.
It is seen in Table 5 that 37% of our respondents is literate,
33.6% is semi-illiterate while 29.2% is illiterate. In Table 6,
it is seen that 54% of male respondents are willing (very willing or willing)
against 59.4% of the females who are willing (either willing or very willing)
|| Breakdown of the responses on willingness to participate
in curbing the rate of environmental deterioration
||Breakdown of the responses on awareness of environmental deterioration
||Breakdown of the responses on concern about the environmental
||Breakdown of the responses on rating of environmental quality
||Breakdown of the responses on respondents level of education
||Breakdown of the responses on willingness to participate by
In Table 7, it is seen that majority (57.7%) of the eldest respondents (≥65 years) are willing (very willing or willing) to participate. This is quite significant when compared to the other age intervals. In Table 7, it can be inferred that those with higher income are more willing than those with lower income since 59% of those with annual income (>x480, 000) are willing to participate. This surpassed the willingness to participate among the other levels of income earners (Table 8).
Ordered probit model that explained willingness to participate in curbing environmental
deterioration estimated using Stata (Statacorp LD, College Station, TX) (Table
2) based on 871 valid answers (129 respondents provided incomplete information)
is shown in Table 9.
|| Breakdown of the responses on willingness to support by age
|Results are in %
|| Breakdown of the responses on willingness to support by level
of income (X) per annum
|Results are in % and x156 = $1 at the time of the survey
|| Model estimation results
|No. of observations = 871. Results for willingness participate
in curbing the rate of environmental deterioration; Log-likelihood = -1190.75;
LR Chi-square (with 8 degrees of freedom) = 27.48; The corresponding p-value
< 0.0006; Pseudo R2 = 0.0114. *, ** and ***Indicate significance
at 1, 5 and 10% levels, respectively
From the model we have established that significant factors affecting willingness
to participate in curbing the rate of environmental deterioration are awareness
about environmental deterioration, concern about this ugly trend and the local
level of environmental quality, age, sex and level of income. This was evidenced
by the breakdown of the survey responses. Present results indicate that about
54% of our respondents were willing (very willing and willing, Table
1) to participate in curbing the rate of environmental deterioration. This
is because majority of the respondents (53.2%) are aware of the increasing level
of environment deterioration (Table 2). Similarly, 53.4% of
the respondents were concerned (very concerned and concerned, Table
3) about the deteriorating environment. This is corroborated by the 60.2%
of the respondents who rated environmental quality in the country either low
or very low (Table 4).
The populations used in this study are more enlightened and/or educated when compared to the general population of the country. As a result, the findings of this study should be extrapolated with caution especially when considering rural areas that hosts less enlightened/educated populations.
Damage to the environment due to poor waste management can be avoided by implementing
environmentally sensitive waste management techniques, through the principle
of the best practicable environmental option, whereby minimization, reuse, recycling
and recovery techniques are employed, where feasible (Clarke
et al., 1999), in order to reduce the amount of waste going to the
landfills (open dumps in Nigeria). Unfortunately the absence of formal recycling
programs and landfills constructed using appropriate (or state-of-the-art) technology
has resulted in the various low-end reuse of EoL goods and recovery of selected
waste materials which leads to economic wastages and ecological degradation.
Joos et al. (1999) observed that improved waste
treatment is the most effective way of relieving the burden of waste management
on the environment in the short term. As a result, waste treatment should be
given preference, as it results in the recovery of waste and tolerable environmental
The finds of this study are quite interesting and partly agreed and varied
with those of previous studies. It is partly in line with previous studies because
age, sex and level of income (Barr et al., 2001;
Long, 1997; Oskamp et al.,
1991) were discovered to influence peoples willingness to participate
in environmental sustainable programmes. However, it is at variance with previous
studies in that it was discovered that the level of awareness and concern about
the deteriorating environment and the local environmental quality are also significant
factors that affect peoples willingness to participate in curbing the
rate of environmental deterioration. This may be as a result of the fact peoples
level of awareness and concern about the deteriorating environment and local
environmental quality were not assessed in the previous studies.
The primary management action that affects waste treatment is the waste generation
itself (Komilis et al., 1999). It is therefore
necessary to create awareness on waste minimization as a tool in checking the
increasing waste crisis in the country. Municipal waste minimization involves
decision by parties in waste generation and management (product manufacturers,
government agencies, householders) to reduce the amount of waste placed in the
waste stream (source-reduction) and to divert waste entering the waste stream
towards benign purposes (waste diversion) rather than towards disposal. Such
waste materials should be channeled towards recycling, composting and waste-to-energy
conversions (Taylor, 2000). The NIMBY (Not In My Back
Yard) attitude of most residents and industries results in the disposal of waste
that the householders and industries knows could impact negatively on the environment
and human health, at unapproved points including surface water bodies used for
domestic purposes. In such situations, the out-of-sight, is out-of-mind attitude
is adopted by the waste generator. The NIMBY attitude has been recognized as
a basic participatory problem in waste management (Joos
et al., 1999) and is encountered even when environmentally sound
waste management facilities are been considered for construction in communities
(Leao et al., 2004).
Barr et al. (2001) observed that recycling
behaviors are associated with three sets of variables:
||Environmental values: People who value the environment
for its intrinsic worth have been found more likely to behave in environmentally
||Situational factors: This includes enabling and diabling
||Psychological factors: These are unique perceptual
traits of the individual
It is therefore necessary to assess the perception of environmental standards
in Nigeria and the likely attitude of residents towards environmental protections
should there be a program.
CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
The fundamental finds of this study are that factors affecting willingness to participate in curbing the rate of environmental deterioration are age, sex, level of income, awareness and concern about the deteriorating environment and the local environmental quality. It is surprising in this study that education was found not to be a significant factor considering that it is expected that not having a good education decreases the willingness to participate and vice versa.
The rate of environmental deterioration is a growing concern across regional, national and international boundaries, therefore awareness and concern programs need to be created among people in order to make them willing to participate in any efforts aimed at controlling the rate of environmental deterioration such as recycling EoL consumer goods, pay more for environmentally friendlier goods, adoption of environmentally sustainable behavior and so on. For such programs to be effective, there is need for a sound understanding of the factors affecting peoples willingness to participate in curbing the rate of environmental deterioration. Based on the finds of our study there is need to create educational programmes on environmental issues targeting men, the younger population and the lower income earners in view of the fact that they are less willing to participate.
The results of this study indicates that a significant proportion of the sampled
population are aware of the increasing environmental degradation in Nigeria
and are willing to participate in any effort aimed at checking this ugly trend.
There is a need for the government to introduce policy measures to halt the
present waste management practices and introduce/develop an integrated set of
policy measures to assure effective waste management practices in the country.
Such policy instruments should encourage prevention of waste at source, reduction
of pollutants both in the production processes and finished goods, reduction
of waste by improving recovery and the environmentally compatible treatment
of the remaining waste (Joos et al., 1999). In
order to achieve this, the following are inevitable:
||Introduce an information dissemination mechanism to create
awareness on appropriate waste management practices
||Provide infrastructure for waste collection and appropriate
management, giving preference to recycling wherever possible
||Implement producer responsibility (mandatory producer responsibility
preferably) to achieve sound management of EoL consumer goods.
||Introduce incentives (tax incentives, financial encouragements,
partnerships) to encourage effective waste management
||Introduce legislation restricting the options available legally
in the management of certain waste materials
||Encourage recycling by developing market for recycled materials
as well as encouraging the supply of waste materials towards the recycling
To achieve resource conservation and minimize environmental impact and resource
consumption in Nigeria, policy instruments and legislation are required and
these should be based on the 3R principles, i.e., reuse, reduce and recycle.
Though the 3R will not eliminate waste entirely, it will however be required
in reducing the volume of waste to be managed. Appropriate disposal methods
(engineered landfills and incinerators) will then be required in the management
of residual wastes (Rehardyan et al., 2004).
The increasing problem of waste management in Nigeria can be resolved by cutting
back on waste generation and through waste minimization practices and by recycling
more of the waste generated. The time to act is now. A generational change is
required and this can be achieved by introducing waste awareness educational
programs in our schools. Information dissemination instruments are required
to inform the population what is expected of them and to persuade them to do
same. Wilson (1996) observed that a well coordinated
publicity and educational programs must form an integral part of any waste reduction
program. The residents need simple information and publicity campaigns which
should be backed by longer term education programs integrated into the curricula
of our schools.
Finally, basic waste management infrastructure is required in the country.
There is a need for modern landfills that uses engineered barriers and leachate
collection systems. Such facilities reduce the possibility of leachate contamination
of underground water (Slack et al., 2005).