Advertisement

Urban Vulnerability of Waste Workers in Nigerian Cities: The Case of Aba, Nigeria

  • Thaddeus Chidi Nzeadibe
  • Friday Uchenna Ochege
Chapter

Abstract

The centrality of waste collection and recycling to the lives of the poor in African cities in the post-2015 development era was the main motivation for this study. Unfortunately, the informal waste economy in Africa is generally excluded from mainstream of urban governance and socio-economic processes. As a result, vulnerabilities abound in the informal waste-based livelihoods. Using a case study of waste workers in the city of Aba in Nigeria, this chapter examines urban vulnerability as a converse to social sustainability of waste workers in Nigerian cities. While noting the relevance of the sustainable development goals (SDGs) 8 and 11 to urban sustainability of livelihoods of informal waste workers, the chapter argues that location within the urban area can be a factor of pickers’ vulnerability while collective organizing and social innovation can be crucial to countering trends of exclusion. It is further argued that development intervention should aim at achieving more inclusive cities as inclusion could be a strong factor in ensuring improved well-being and sustainability of the waste economy in Nigerian cities.

Keywords

Urban vulnerability Informal economy Waste picking Social innovation Sustainable development goals 

Notes

Acknowledgments

Some aspects of this chapter were drawn from authors’ previous research published in the following journals: City, Culture and Society; Applied Research in Quality of Life; Geography Compass; and Review of African Political Economy. These sources are gratefully acknowledged.

Further Reading

  1. Abia State of Nigeria ASN. 2005. Abia State Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy. Abia State Government Publication. http://web.ng.undp.org/documents/SEEDS/Abia_State.pdf/. Accessed 14 June 2014
  2. Adama, O., and T.C. Nzeadibe. 2017. Dealing with Waste: Resource Recovery and Entrepreneurship in Informal Solid Waste Management in African Cities. Trenton: Africa World Press.Google Scholar
  3. Ahmed, S.A., and M. Ali. 2004. Partnerships for Solid Waste Management in Developing Countries: Linking Theories to Realities. Habitat International 28 (3): 467–479.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bender, C. 2010. Informal Employment: Making a Living in Calgary. Final Report Calgary Homeless Foundation, Calgary, Canada. http://www.calgaryhomeless.com/users/folderdata/%7B5517DB85-3E01-4E58-B023-012D3EF6590A%7D/PanhandlingReport_SubmittedToCHF_Sept21_2010.pdf. Web Accessed 3 Aug 2011.
  5. Boström, M. 2012. A Missing Pillar? Challenges in Theorizing and Practicing Social Sustainability: Introduction to the Special Issue. Sustainability: Science, Practice, & Policy 8 (1): 3–14.Google Scholar
  6. Brata, A.G. 2010. Vulnerability of Urban Informal Sector: Street Vendors in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. Theoretical and Empirical Researches in Urban Management 5 (14): 47–58.Google Scholar
  7. Dabir-Alai, P. 2004. The Economics of Street Vending: An Empirical Framework for Measuring Vulnerability in Delhi in the Late 1990s. Paper Presented at the EDGI and UNU-WIDER Conference, Unlocking Human Potential: Linking Informal and Formal Sectors, Helsinki, Finland, 17–18 September 2004.Google Scholar
  8. Dias, S. 2012. Waste and Development–Perspectives from the Ground, Field Actions Science Reports, no. 6. pp. 1–6. http://factsreports.revues.org/1615. Accessed 6 Aug 2012.
  9. Didero, M. 2012. Cairo’s Informal Waste Collectors: A Multi-scale and Conflict Sensitive Perspective on Sustainable Livelihoods. Erdkunde 66 (1): 27–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Downs, M., and M. Medina. 2000. A Short History of Scavenging. Comparative Civilizations Review 42: 23–45.Google Scholar
  11. East—Central State of Nigeria: Statistical Digest 1970. 1972. Official document No. 8, ECS, Enugu.Google Scholar
  12. Ezeibe, C.C., T.C. Nzeadibe, A.N. Ali, C.U. Udeogu, C.F. Nwankwo, and C. Ogbodo. 2017. Work on Wheels: A Political Economy of Collective Organising in the Motorcycle Taxi Subsystem of Nigerian Cities. International Development Planning Review 39 (3): 249–273. https://doi.org/10.3828/idpr.2017.10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Fahmi, W.S., and K. Sutton. 2006. Cairo’s Zabaleen Garbage Recyclers: Multi-nationals’ Takeover and State Relocation Plans. Habitat International 30 (4): 809–837.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Federal Republic of Nigeria Federal Republic of Nigeria Official Gazette 96, no. 2 2009. Abuja: Federal Government Printer.Google Scholar
  15. Fernando, N. 2003. A Measure of Urban Livelihood Vulnerability: The Case of Colombo. Paper Submitted for the 9th International conference on Sri Lanka Studies, Matara, Sri Lanka, 28th–30th November 2003Google Scholar
  16. ———. 2011. Identifying the Urban Poor and Investigating Local Level Poverty Dynamics Through CBMS: A Case of Colombo. Proceedings of the 2005 CBMS Network Meeting, 2005. 689–714. http://www.pep-net.org/fileadmin/medias/pdf/files_events/4th_colombo/proceed/fernando.pdf. Accessed 26 Feb 2011
  17. Fredericks, R. 2014. Vital Infrastructures of Trash in Dakar. Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 34 (3): 532–548. https://doi.org/10.1215/1089201X-2826085.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Gerometta, J., H. Häussermann, and G. Longo. 2005. Social Innovation and Civil Society in Urban Governance: Strategies for an Inclusive City. Urban Studies 42 (11): 2007–2021.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Gutberlet, J. 2010. Waste, Poverty and Recycling. Waste Management 30 (2): 171–173.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Gutberlet, J., C. Tremblay, E. Taylor, and N. Divakarannair. 2009. Who Are Our Informal Recyclers? An Inquiry to Uncover Crisis and Potential in Victoria, Canada. Local Environment 14 (8): 733–747.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. International Monetary Fund. 2007. Nigeria: Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper—Progress Report, IMF Country Report No. 07/270. http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/scr/2007/cr07270.pdf. Accessed 8 Sept 2013
  22. Kale, Y. 2014. Measuring Better: Rebasing/Re-benchmarking of Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product. Presentation at the Lagos Business School Breakfast Meeting Lagos, 7 May.Google Scholar
  23. Lieberherr-Gardiol, F. 1996. Waste, Waste Nothing but Waste – From 12th–19th Century Paris to 20th Century Developing Countries. In Micro and Small Enterprises Involvement in Municipal Solid Waste Management in Developing Countries, Workshop Report, UMP/SDC Collaborative Programme on Municipal Solid Waste Management in Low-income Countries, 14–18 October, Cairo, Egypt. pp. 42–47.Google Scholar
  24. Lindell, I. 2010. Introduction: The Changing Politics of Informality – Collective Organising, Alliances and Scales of Engagement. In Africa’s Informal Workers: Collective Agency, Alliances and Transnational Organising in Urban Africa, ed. I. Lindell, 1–30. London/Uppsala: Zed Books and the Nordic Africa Institute.Google Scholar
  25. Mayhew, H. 1862. London Labour and the London Poor. London: Griffin, Bohn, and Company.Google Scholar
  26. Meagher, K. 2010. Identity Economics: Social Networks and the Informal Economy in Nigeria. New York: James Currey.Google Scholar
  27. ———. 2013. Unlocking the Informal Economy: A Literature Review on Linkages Between Formal and Informal Economies in Developing Countries, WIEGO Working Paper No 27. Cambridge, MA: Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO).Google Scholar
  28. Medina, M. 2007. The World’s Scavengers: Salvaging for Sustainable Consumption and Production. Lanham: AltaMira Press.Google Scholar
  29. Melosi, M. 1981. Garbage in the Cities: Refuse Reform and the Environment: 1880 – 1980. Texas: Texas A&M Press.Google Scholar
  30. Moulaert, F., F. Martinelli, E. Swyngedouw, and S. Gonzalez. 2005. Towards Alternative Model(s) of Local Innovation. Urban Studies 42 (11): 1969–1990.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. National Bureau of Statistics. 2014. Rebasing of National Accounts Statistics: Methodology Notes on Gross Domestic Product (GDP) Rebasing Exercise. April 2014. Abuja: National Bureau of Statistics. nigerianstat.gov.ng/pages/download/198. Accessed 02 June 2014.
  32. National Planning Commission. 2004. Meeting Everyone’s Needs: National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy. Abuja: NPC.Google Scholar
  33. ———. 2007. National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy-NEEDS2. Abuja: NPC.Google Scholar
  34. National Population Commission. 1991. Nigeria Population Census 1991. Abuja: NPC.Google Scholar
  35. New Economics Foundation. 2012. Measuring Wellbeing: A Guide for Practitioners. London: New Economics Foundation (NEF).Google Scholar
  36. New York Times. 1869. Our Rag pickers, How and Where they Live – the Fag End of the Dry Goods Business. November 21, 1869 Archives of the New York Times. Cited in Shrimati Nathibai Damodar Thackersey (SNDT) Womens’ University and Chintan Environmental Research and Action Group (2010). Recycling Livelihoods: Integration of the Informal Recycling Sector in Solid Waste Management in India. Project Report, GTZ, Eschborn.Google Scholar
  37. Nwafor, J.C. 2002. Manufacturing Industries. In A Survey of the Igbo Nation, ed. G.E.K. Ofomata, 525–542. Onitsha: Africana First Publishers.Google Scholar
  38. Nwosu, B.U., T.C. Nzeadibe, and P.O. Mbah. 2016. Waste and Wellbeing: A Political Economy of Informal Waste Management and Public Policy in Urban West Africa. Review of African Political Economy 43 (149): 478–488. https://doi.org/10.1080/03056244.2015.1084914.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Nzeadibe, T.C. 2009. Solid Waste Reforms and Informal Recycling in Enugu Urban Area, Nigeria. Habitat International 33 (1): 93–99. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.habitatint.2008.05.006.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. ———. 2013. Informal Waste Management in Africa: Perspectives and Lessons from Nigerian Garbage Geographies. Geography Compass 7 (10): 729–744. https://doi.org/10.1111/gec3.12072.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. ———. 2015. Moving Up the Hierarchy: Involving the Informal Sector to Increase Recycling Rates in Nigerian Cities. In Future Directions of Solid Waste Management in Africa, ed. R. Mohee and T. Simelane, 70–87. Pretoria: Africa Institute of South Africa.Google Scholar
  42. Nzeadibe, T.C., and C.K. Ajaero. 2011. Development Impact of Advocacy Initiatives in Solid Waste Management in Nigeria. Environment, Development and Sustainability 13 (1): 163–177.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Nzeadibe, T.C., and R.N.C. Anyadike. 2010. Solid Waste Governance Innovations: An Appraisal of Recent Developments in the Informal Sector Niche in Urban Nigeria. Geography Compass 4 (9): 1284–1296.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. ———. 2012. Social Participation in City Governance and Urban Livelihoods: Constraints to the Informal Recycling Economy in Aba, Nigeria. City, Culture and Society 3 (4): 313–325.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Nzeadibe, T.C., and P.O. Mbah. 2015. Beyond Urban Vulnerability: Interrogating the Social Sustainability of a Livelihood in the in the Informal Economy of Nigerian Cities. Review of African Political Economy 42 (144): 279–298.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Nzeadibe, T.C., R.N.C. Anyadike, and R.F. Njoku-Tony. 2012. A Mixed Methods Approach to Vulnerability and Quality of Life Assessment of Waste Picking in Urban Nigeria. Applied Research in Quality of Life 7 (4): 351–370.Google Scholar
  47. O’Riordan, T. 2013. Sustainability for Wellbeing. Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions 6: 96–115.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Okorafor, A.E. 1975. Population Distribution, 1963. In Nigeria in Maps: Eastern States, ed. G.E.K. Ofomata, 52–54. Benin City: Ethiope Publishers.Google Scholar
  49. Okoye, T.O. 1975. The Modern Phase of Urbanization. In Nigeria in Maps: Eastern State, ed. G.E.K. Ofomata, 76–78. Benin City: Ethiope Publishers.Google Scholar
  50. ———. 2002. Urban Life and Urban Development in Igboland. In A Survey of the Igbo Nation, ed. G.E.K. Ofomata, 178–194. Onitsha: Africana First Publishers.Google Scholar
  51. Perry, S.E. 1978. San Francisco Scavengers: Dirty Work and the Pride of Ownership. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  52. Porter, M.E. 2015. Marginal Recycling: Place and Informal Recycling in St. John’s, Newfoundland. Local Environment 20 (2): 149–164.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Rouse, J.R., and S.M. Ali. 2001. Waste Pickers in Dhaka: Using the Sustainable Livelihoods Approach – Key Findings and Field Notes. WEDC: Loughborough.Google Scholar
  54. Samson, M. 2009. Refusing to be Cast Aside: Waste Pickers Organizing around the World. Cambridge, MA: Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO).Google Scholar
  55. ———. 2010. Reclaiming Reusable and Recyclable Materials in Africa: A Critical Review of English Language Literature, WIEGO Working Paper (Urban Policies) No 16. Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing (WIEGO), Cambridge, MA. http://wiego.org/sites/wiego.org/files/publications/files/Samson_WIEGO_WP16.pdf. Accessed 26 Oct 2012.
  56. Sarkar, P. 2003. Solid Waste Management in Delhi – A Social Vulnerability Study. In Proceedings of the Third International Conference on Environment and Health, Chennai, India. ed. J. Martin, M.J. Bunch, V.M. Suresh and T.V. Kumaran, 451–464. Department of Geography, University of Madras and Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University. 15–17 December, 2003.Google Scholar
  57. Schenck, Catherina J., Nik Theodore, Phillip F. Blaauw, Elizabeth C. Swart, and Jacoba M.M. Viljoen. 2017. The N2 Scrap Collectors: Assessing the Viability of Informal Recycling Using the Sustainable Livelihoods framework. Community Development Journal. https://doi.org/10.1093/cdj/bsx018.
  58. Schütte, S. 2006. Poor, Poorer, Poorest: Urban Livelihoods and Vulnerability in Mazar-i-Sharif. Kabul: Case Study Series, Afghanistan Research and Evaluation Unit (AREU).Google Scholar
  59. Strasser, S. 2000. Waste and Want: A Social History of Trash. New York: Owl Books/Henry Holt.Google Scholar
  60. Uchegbu, S.N. 2009. Effective Planning and Management as Critical Factors in Urban Water Supply and Management in Umuahia and Aba, Abia State, Nigeria. Physics and Chemistry of the Earth 34: 23–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. UN-HABITAT. 2002. The Global Campaign on Urban Governance: Concept Paper. Nairobi: UNCHS.Google Scholar
  62. Velis, C.A., D.C. Wilson, and C.R. Cheeseman. 2009. 19th Century London Dust-yards: A Case Study in Closed-loop Resource Efficiency. Waste Management 29: 1282–1290.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Watson, V. 2011. Inclusive Urban Planning for the Working Poor: Planning Education Trends and Potential Shifts, Urban Policies Research Report No. 11. Women in Informal Employment Globalising and Organising (WIEGO). http://www.inclusivecities.org/research/RR11_Watson.pdf. Accessed 26 Jan 2012.
  64. Wilson, D.C. 2007. Development Drivers for Waste Management. Waste Management and Research. 25 (3): 198–207.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Wilson, D.C., C. Velis, and C. Cheeseman. 2006. Role of Informal Sector Recycling in Waste Management in Developing Countries. Habitat International 30 (4): 797–808.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thaddeus Chidi Nzeadibe
    • 1
  • Friday Uchenna Ochege
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of GeographyUniversity of NigeriaNsukkaNigeria
  2. 2.Department of Geography and Environmental ManagementUniversity of Port HarcourtChobaNigeria

Personalised recommendations