Space, Identity and Health Risks: a study of domestic waste in Ibadan, Nigeria

Aderemi Suleiman Ajala


Poor waste management has characterized Ibadan’s modern and historical identity.  As a consequence, residents of Ibadan (indigenes) hold diverse views about the city's image, while non-indigenes label it "filthy" and "dirty".  These perceptions, spatial and cultural, are deep rooted, intertwining with the political and cultural plane of Nigerian society. A distinction between “self” and “others” is seen to mark a discourse and counter discourse in the perception of health risks associated with domestic waste in the Ibadan.  Through survey and descriptive ethnography, our paper examines the nature and extent of domestic waste in Ibadan, as a physical, community and psychological reality, where we seek to explain how generation and poor waste management  impacts on these spaces and the very mechanics of identity. Different perceptions of health risks are observed as well the vulnerability to diseases associated with domestic waste and poor hygiene, bringing into play the socioeconomic variables and residential patterns which constitute the daily reality of this city.  Our study establishes that the increase in urban population, the low economic status, the indiscriminate setting up of artisans’ shops or outlets and the overall inability of government agencies to monitor the menace of domestic waste and its attendant health risks, are central factors to the problem generically deemed one of “waste”.



Identity, Space, Health risks, Domestic waste, Income level and Ibadan

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