The link between flooding, rapid urbanization and indiscriminate waste disposal is based on a cause and effect principle. Just as everything else, with enough force, water moves it along, but when the water recede it becomes an obstacle to beat by the next flow. Then, any of these happens;

  • it gets dragged along and into larger water bodies, to choke marine lives
  • it is too much a burden to beat, the heap of waste wins and water is chased our way, into our roads, homes, offices etc
  • they break down, into micro constituents (0.0001 to 0.0000001 of a centimeter), enter our food chain, poisoning everything they come across including us.



While natural hazards do occur, most often than not, they are induced/provoked by anthropogenic processes i.e human activities, land use, construction or indiscriminate waste disposal. Take flooding, a physical hazard and cholera, a biological disaster for example.



The European Union (EU) Floods Directive defines a flood as a covering by water of land not normally covered by water.


  • Overflow of water from water bodies, resulting in some of that water escaping its usual boundaries,
  • An accumulation of rainwater on saturated ground in an areal (flat, low-lying area) flood
  • When the flow rate or river exceeds the capacity of the river channel, particularly at bends or meanders in the waterway.




While some floods develop slowly, others such as flash floods (often experienced in Northern Nigeria), can develop in just a few minutes and without visible signs of rain. Floods can be local, impacting a neighborhood or community, or very large, affecting entire river basins.





As natural as flooding sounds, most of the flooding disaster in Nigeria are caused by rainfall overwhelming the capacity of drainage systems, because the drainage systems are either;

  • nonexistent,
  • not large enough or
  • already occupied by our waste materials.



“Nigeria has a rainy season and suffers from seasonal flash floods. These flash foods are sometimes lethal, especially in the rural areas or overcrowded slums, where drainage is poor or does not exist at all”- Wikipedia on Nigeria floods


Flooding in Nigeria are characterized by its repetitive and systemic impacts on communities, that can happen regardless of whether or not affected communities are located within designated floodplains or near any body of water. Areas affected in the 2012 National disaster are still being affected by the same flooding today, 2018.






Floods in urban centres were responsible for the bulk of disaster-induced displacement, causing a total of 122,000 new displacements, the majority due to widespread flooding in Benue state in 2017 (IDMC, 2018)



Improper waste management system and Cholera

When not carried away by flowing water or blocking drainages, indiscriminately disposed wastes materials make heaps within our communities. These heaps produce heavily toxic leachates which when in contact with our water or food source can cause diseases such as cholera.



These heaps also act directly as breeding space for disease inducing bacteria/pathogens and disease carriers which more often than not, come in contact with human at their free will. Cholera affects an estimated 3–5 million people worldwide and causes 28,800–130,000 deaths a year (WHO, 2010). Poor sanitary and environmental conditions are the single largest causes of cholera.



Improper waste management has a direct link to physical, environmental and biological disasters, importance of maintaining a clean and properly sanitized environmental to the quality of life one lives cannot be over emphasized.


Clearing of waste is indeed the responsibilities of the government, the rate of generation has however not been countered with the efficiency of collection nor management of the collected. Of the 32 million tons generated annually in Nigeria, only 20-30% is being collected by existing practices. Knowing the adverse effect these wastes have on lives and properties, it is time citizens take ownership and responsibility of the problem and begin the journey to a sustainable waste management culture.




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