|Waste workers in Nigeria. |
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This chapter, Urban Vulnerability of Waste Workers in Nigerian Cities: The Case of Aba, Nigeria, by Thaddeus Chidi Nzeabide and Friday Uchenna Ochege, is a fascinating look at informal waste workers in Africa. The authors take on an important topic--the informal waste trade--within the context of workers and their vulnerability. Waste management in Nigeria is underfunded in many areas and there is a robust economy associated with informal waste management. However, those who engage in the informal waste economy are among the most vulnerable members of Nigerian society. Assessing the vulnerability of these workers is the main focal point of the chapter.
The authors then review the setting for the case study in Aba, Nigeria. Aba is a city of over a million people that was a small town of 13,000 in 1931. Thus Aba is similar to some of the sunbelt cities in the U.S., in that it boomed in the 20th century. The growth in Aba was largely unplanned. As a result, there are often incompatible land uses adjacent to each other and there are a range of environmental and social problems present in the city--including a variety of issues associated with waste management.
The authors next provide a brief literature review around urban vulnerability in the informal waste trade. Many parts of the world, including Europe and the U.S., once had informal economies associated with waste. However, waste has become a highly organized part of what local governments do when they provide services to communities in most of the world. However, Africa remains one of the places where waste is still handled informally. In addition, workers in the waste business are not part of any organized planning or initiatives and are not part of any local or regional poverty reduction strategy. In addition, the informal waste economy is not taken into account in any measurable way when assessing local or regional economies. Thus, there is scant literature on who is involved, the economic impact, or the vulnerability of workers.
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Previous posts in this series:
Chapter 1: Sustainability Definitions, Historical Context, and Frameworks
Chapter 2. Sustainability and Natural Landscape Stewardship: A US Conservation Case Study
Chapter 3. Policy Design for Sustainability at Multiple Scales: The Case of Transboundary Haze Pollution in Southeast Asia
Chapter 4. Sustainable Water Resources Management: Groundwater Depletion
Chapter 12. Urban Social Sustainability: The Case Study of Nottingham, UK