by Suhaib Arogundade
Nigeria being the largest country in Africa in terms of population which stands at 182 million according to the United Nations publication titled “World Population Prospects: The 2015 Revision, Key Findings and Advance Tables” is also the biggest economy in Africa according to International Monetary Fund.
Hence, little wonder that the country is also home to six (6) of the biggest dumpsites in Africa according to Waste Atlas 2014 report on World’s 50 Biggest Dumpsites published by D-Waste.
These dumpsites are domiciled in three most important cities in Nigeria namely Lagos (the commercial hub of Nigeria), Port Harcourt (the commercial hub of South-South, Nigeria) and Ibadan (the third most populous city in Nigeria). Let’s explore the dumpsites.
- Olusosun: It is the largest dumpsite not only in Lagos but in Nigeria and receives about 2.1 million tonnes of waste annually comprising mostly of municipal solid waste (MSW), construction waste, and electronic waste (e-waste). The dumpsite covers an area of about 43 hectares and it is 18 meters deep1. The dumpsite has been in existence since 1992 and has housed about 24.5 million tonnes of waste since then. A population of about 5 million people lives around 10km radius from the site and numerous health problems like skin irritation, dysentery, water-related disease, nauseous feeling, etcetera have been reported by residents living around 3km radius from the site.
- Solous 2: It is located in Lagos and occupies around 8 hectares of land along Lasu-Iba road. The dumpsite receives about 820,000 tonnes of waste annually and has since its existence in 2006 accepted around 5.8 million tonnes of MSW. Solous is just 200 meters away from the nearest dwellings and almost 4 million people live within 10km radius from the site. Due to the vulnerable sand formation of the area, leachate produced at the dumpsite flows into groundwater causing its contamination.
- Epe: Epe dumpsite also in Lagos occupies about 80 hectares of land. The dumpsite was opened in 2010 and has an annual input of 12,000 tonnes of MSW. Epe is the dumpsite which the Lagos State government is planning to upgrade to an engineered landfill and set to replace Olusosun dumpsite after its closure. Since its existence, it has received about 47,000 tonnes of waste and it is just 500 meters away from the nearest settlement. The dumpsite is also just 2km away from Osogbo River and 7km away from Lekki Lagoon.
- Awotan (Apete): The dumpsite is located in Ibadan and has been in existence since 1998 receiving 36,000 tonnes of MSW annually. It covers an area of 14 hectares and already has in place almost 525,000 tonnes of waste. The dumpsite is close to Eleyele Lake (2.5km away) and IITA Forest Reserve (4.5km away). The nearest settlement to the dumpsite is just 200 meters away and groundwater contamination has been reported at residents wells.
- Lapite: Lapite dumpsite also located in Ibadan occupies an area of 20 hectares receiving around 9,000 tonnes of MSW yearly. Since its existence in 1998, it has housed almost 137,000 tonnes of MSW. It is 9km away from IITA Forest Reserve and surrounded by vegetations on both sides of the road since the dumpsite is directly opposite a major road. The nearest settlement is about 2km away but due to the heavy metals present in the leachate produced in the dumpsite, its leakage poses a great threat to groundwater and biodiversity in the area.
- Eneka: It is located in Port Harcourt, the commercial hub of South-South, Nigeria along Igwuruta/Eneka road and 9km from Okpoka River and Otamiri River. It receives around 45,600 tonnes of MSW annually and already has about 12 million tonnes of waste in place. The site lies in an area of 5 hectares and it is flooded almost all year round as rainfall in the area exceeds 2,500mm per annum. Due to this and the resultant flow of the flood which would have mixed with dumpsite leachate; groundwater, surface water, and soil contamination affect the 1.2 million people living around 10km radius from the site as the nearest building is just 200 meters away.
There you have it, the six biggest dumpsites in Nigeria. Which dumpsite is in your location and can you tell how big it is?
If you live in a location close to any of the listed dumpsites or the ones in your area which is not listed, you will be doing yourself, neighbours, and the environment a great favour by reaching out to the authorities in charge of waste management in your State to quickly do something about the negative impact of these waste as stated above.
1 Resettlement Action Plan for Waste Pickers on Olushosun Dumpsite by The Resettlement Planning Committee, Lagos Metropolitan Development and Governance Project (LMDGP) and Lagos Waste Management Authority (LAWMA).
Author: Suhaib Arogundade
Suhaib Arogundade is an enthusiastic young professional who has interest in commodity trading, mindset redesigning, and waste management research.
Suhaib is the Chief Waste Eliminator at WasteWatch Africa.