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Role of Informal Waste Workers for Sustainable Waste Management in Nigeria and Nepal

A. Khanal1,6 *, A. R. Aroyehun2, A. Garba3, M. B. Ibrahim4, P. Adewale5, and S. Giri6

  1. Department of Sustainable Engineering, Teri School of Advanced Studies, New Delhi 110070, India
  2. Faculty of Agriculture, University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State 500004, Nigeria
  3. Faculty of Environmental Technology, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi 740272, Nigeria
  4. Federal University of Technology Minna, Minna 920101, Nigeria
  5. Centre for Environmental Studies and Sustainable Development, Lagos State University, Lagos State 102101, Nigeria
  6. Global Research Institute and Training Center, Kathmandu 44600, Nepal

*Corresponding author. Tel.: (977) 9841075897. E-mail address: (A. Khanal).


Informal waste workers (IWWs) play a vital role in recovery, disposal and recycling of waste materials. This study examines the current solid waste management practices in Nigeria and Nepal, with a particular focus on the roles of IWWs in effective waste management. Through comprehensive secondary literature reviews, including journal databases, books, reports, and websites, this study highlights the inadequate solid waste management systems in both countries, resulting in limited reuse of generated waste. Common challenges related to waste collection, transportation, sorting, processing, and final disposal were identified in Nigeria and Nepal. The important role played by IWWs in waste management activities, such as collection, sorting, recovery, and recycling, is evident. However, the lack of appropriate legislation addressing their involvement serves as a major hindrance. This study also presents key findings on Nigeria’s waste generation, recycling rates, and reliance on the informal sector, as well as Nepal’s municipal solid waste composition, recycling rates, and the significant role played by informal waste workers. The study emphasizes the need for inclusive waste management policies, strengthened waste collection and segregation systems, investment in recycling infrastructure, and enhanced collaboration among government agencies, waste management companies, and informal waste workers. Enforcing existing legislation and providing support to IWWs, including improved working conditions and social protection measures, are essential steps toward improving waste management practices. The study concludes by highlighting the importance of research, innovation, and international cooperation in developing sustainable waste management solutions for Nigeria and Nepal.

Keywords: informal waste workers, Nepal, Nigeria, solid waste, sustainability, waste management

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