Professional collection and disposal services that include full collection coverage in urban areas, full or substantial coverage in rural areas, and sound environmental standards at disposal sites should be provided by responsible agencies/authorities as the minimum, basic level of service provision.
Virtually in most States of the Nigerian Federation, urban collection is far from satisfactory, disposal practices are also poor. An out-of-sight, out-of-mind attitude has been the norm from time immemorial. There are thousands of wild dumps, small and large, scattered around territories, while many of the authorized disposal sites lack environmental controls.
Open dumping is the established concept in all the States studied as well as a locally crafted practice which have become acceptable due to economies of scale in capital costs, reduced fixed costs, and reduced environmental risk associated with fewer sites. Some of the studied states have followed a top-down division of their territories into regional waste routes/zones where each is served by a regional dumpsite, while other states have left it entirely to municipalities and market forces to determine their dumpsite caption areas. A centrally-led approach accompanied by public consultations and local endorsement seems to be the faster and more efficient among the two approaches. The development of regional landfills should be done in parallel with permanent closure of other disposal areas and wild dumps, as well as strong control and enforcement. There is a classic example where, following the introduction of a new central dumpsite for a region of the state, municipalities reverted to unauthorized dumps due to new higher transportation costs to the site and weak monitoring and control.
Authorities may consider introducing into existing national legislation graduated standards for landfills based on their environmental legislation, local environmental assessments, and the quantity and composition of waste. Requirements could be reduced for small landfills, such as the need for criteria for gas treatment and minimum leachate effluent.
In addition to regional disposal, regional collection can offer advantages for sparsely populated small settlements where efficiency is difficult to achieve. Regional collection is a well-established practice in developed nations and could be considered if applicable to local circumstances.