Investigating solid waste management strategies in developing countries using Nigeria as a case study

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Achieving effective municipal solid waste management always poses challenges across urban cities in developing countries. The presence of uncollected solid waste in neighbourhoods, roadsides, and drainage is a common sight in these countries. In urban cities, the presence of uncollected waste is more predominant in the outskirts of the city, also known as; peri-urban areas. As cities urbanise, the peri-urban areas will continuously expand to accommodate the ever-increasing urban poor and new poor migrants from the rural areas. Therefore, it is imperative to address the waste collection and management challenges in these peri-urban areas.

The transfer of waste management approaches and practices from one country to another sometimes is ineffective. This is because effective management practices in any location are usually based on easily available and accessible infrastructure and resources. It seems illogical to use the same framework developed in a high-income country to address waste challenges in poorer countries. This thesis focuses on the development of effective municipal solid waste management systems across peri-urban areas in developing countries, using peri-urban areas in Port Harcourt, Nigeria as a case study. Emerging research on Integrated sustainable Waste Management (ISWM) suggest that communities are best suited to develop their waste management strategies. This is based on the premise that understanding the norms and social aspects of a particular region will often lead to the development of local and appropriate strategies.

The study was carried out to develop a participatory framework with the aim of proffering appropriate waste management and collection strategies in peri-urban areas. Qualitative and quantitative data were collected from collective action groups, households, and State waste agencies. The investigation of the social aspects was explored by using a household survey to understand the perception of waste among the households and waste collection methods. The results on the social aspect show that the knowledge of solid waste management is not translated into the desired outcome. This is attributed to the inconsistency in governance approach and policies. The results on solid waste collection shows that there is a significant reliance on informal waste workers in these areas and the service quality of the government contractors is grossly inefficient. Furthermore, an assessment of existing local groups within the peri-urban areas was carried out to assess the possibility of establishing a community-based waste management group. Results indicate the suitability of the neighbourhood association in facilitating a community-based waste management system. It is also found that Community-Based Organisations (CBOs) such as Faith-based organisation and traditional authorities have a significant influence on the social norms within communities. The analysis suggests that proximity to leadership and success of local projects of these local groups improve trust and accountability, which are key features in governance. A participatory framework for community participation in solid waste management is proposed based on the findings. All existing stakeholders are assigned roles, based on their current activities in the framework. Risk analysis reveals that the social and economic needs of the households should be considered in the generation of revenue required for the effective application of the framework. The framework supports the adoption of integrated solid waste management and provides a strategic tool that maximises available local resources for the effective solid waste management.
Date of Award4 May 2023
Original languageEnglish
SponsorsPetroleum Technology Development Fund
SupervisorJoseph Akunna (Supervisor) & Daniel Gilmour (Supervisor)


  • Municipal Solid Waste (MSW)
  • Collective Action
  • Community engagement
  • Public participation
  • Waste Collection
  • Informal waste sector
  • Peri-urban areas
  • Integrated solid waste management (ISWM)

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