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Project topic for Environmental Studies department



1.1 Background of the Study

Recycling is the process of separating, collecting and remanufacturing or converting used or waste products into new materials. The recycling process involves a series of steps to produce new products. Recycling helps extend the life and usefulness of something that has already served its initial purpose by producing something that is useable. Recycling has a lot of benefits and importance not only to us humans but especially to our planet (Ackerman, 2007).

Recycling is the process of converting waste materials into new materials and objects. It is an alternative to "conventional" waste disposal that can save material and help lower greenhouse gas emissions. Recycling can prevent the waste of potentially useful materials and reduce the consumption of fresh raw materials, thereby reducing: energy usage, air pollution (from incineration), and water pollution (from landfilling) (Ayres, 2004).

Recycling is a key component of modern waste reduction and is the third component of the "Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle" waste hierarchy. Thus, recycling aims at environmental sustainability by substituting raw material inputs into and redirecting waste outputs out of the economic system.

Recyclable materials include many kinds of glass, paper, cardboard, metal, plastic, tires, textiles, and electronics. The composting or other reuse of biodegradable waste such as food or garden waste is also considered recycling. Materials to be recycled are either brought to a collection center or picked up from the curbside, then sorted, cleaned, and reprocessed into new materials destined for manufacturing.

In the strictest sense, recycling of a material would produce a fresh supply of the same material for example, used office paper would be converted into new office paper or used polystyrene foam into new polystyrene. However, this is often difficult or too expensive (compared with producing the same product from raw materials or other sources), so "recycling" of many products or materials involves their reuse in producing different materials (for example, paperboard) instead. Another form of recycling is the salvage of certain materials from complex products, either due to their intrinsic value (such as lead from car batteries, or gold from circuit boards), or due to their hazardous nature (e.g., removal and reuse of mercury from thermometers and thermostats) (Porter, 2002).

According to Tierney (2015), recycling has been a common practice for most of human history, with recorded advocates as far back as Plato in the fourth century BC during the Byzantine era. During periods when resources were scarce and hard to come by, archaeological studies of ancient waste dumps show less household waste (such as ash, broken tools, and pottery) implying more waste was being recycled in the absence of new material.

In pre-industrial times, there is evidence of scrap bronze and other metals being collected in Europe and melted down for perpetual reuse. Paper recycling was first recorded in 1031 when Japanese shops sold repulped paper. In Britain dust and ash from wood and coal fires was collected by "dustmen" and downcycled as a base material used in brick making. The main driver for these types of recycling was the economic advantage of obtaining recycled feedstock instead of acquiring virgin material, as well as a lack of public waste removal in ever more densely populated areas. In 1813, Benjamin Law developed the process of turning rags into "shoddy" and "mungo" wool in Batley, Yorkshire. This material combined recycled fibers with virgin wool. The West Yorkshire shoddy industry in towns such as Batley and Dewsbury lasted from the early 19th century to at least 1914 (Schackelford,  2006).

Industrialization spurred demand for affordable materials; aside from rags, ferrous scrap metals were coveted as they were cheaper to acquire than virgin ore. Railroads both purchased and sold scrap metal in the 19th century, and the growing steel and automobile industries purchased scrap in the early 20th century. Many secondary goods were collected, processed and sold by peddlers who scoured dumps and city streets for discarded machinery, pots, pans, and other sources of metal. By World War I, thousands of such peddlers roamed the streets of American cities, taking advantage of market forces to recycle post-consumer materials back into industrial production (Marc, 2010).

Beverage bottles were recycled with a refundable deposit at some drink manufacturers in Great Britain and Ireland around 1800, notably Schweppes. An official recycling system with refundable deposits was established in Sweden for bottles in 1884 and aluminum beverage cans in 1982; the law led to a recycling rate for beverage containers of 84–99 percent depending on type, and a glass bottle can be refilled over 20 times on average (Marc, 2010)..

In recent time, there has been a rising volume of wastes seen littering most of the streets within Enugu metropolis. Thus is more pronounced in certain areas often characterized by high population density. Also some areas that surround major markets in the metropolis such as Coal Camp, Ebonyi Paint Road, Obiagu Abakpa, Garki generate massive wastes and develop disposal problems resulting in a treat to the quality of air and water around. In some parts of the high density areas, inhabitants tend to dispose of their solid wastes into running water, these wastes block drainage systems creating problems in the area. Enugu State Waste Management Authority responsible for management of the wastes seems to be having challenges in handling the situation. The implications of the above situation to our residential environment are numerous and pose enormous problems (Emodi, 2017). This study therefore examines the importance of recycling in preserving the environment in Enugu metropolis.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

In developing nations, waste management poses serious challenges. This is because heaps of garbage litter the streets. Open dumps are often seen very close to most homes, especially in the urban areas where there is organised refuse collection. Disposal is often at open dump sites within or in close proximity to the streets with virtually no environmental safeguards. The rapid growth of urban population and the growing level of industrial activities present a significant challenge to waste management in Nigeria. “The waste management problems described above seem intractable and overwhelming due to absence of adequate policies, enabling legislation and an environmentally stimulated and enlightened public, Government policies on the environment are piecemeal, where they exist, they are poorly implemented. Public enlightenment programmes, lacked the needed coverage, intensity and continuity to correct the apathetic public attitude towards the environment. Activities of state agencies have been hampered by poor funding.

Indiscriminate disposal of solid wastes leads to environmental degradation. Many people do not know that a used product can be recycled to produce something else; hence they litter the environment with these wastes. Manufacturing industries seem not to understand the importance of producing recyclable goods and Government at all levels seemed not to be interested in the option of recycling these waste materials that litter the environment in Enugu metropolis. It is against these problems that the study seeks to draw the attention of stakeholders and policy makers by evaluating the importance of recycling in preserving the environment in Enugu Metropolis.

1.3 Aim and Objectives of the Study

The aim of this study is to evaluate the importance of recycling in preserving the environment in Enugu Metropolis. Specific objectives include:

  • To determine the relationship between recycling and environmental preservation in Enugu metropolis
  • To evaluate the core environmental problems in Enugu Metropolis
  • To ascertain the attitude of government and residents of Enugu Metropolis towards the adoption of recycling.

1.4 Research Questions

  • What is the relationship between recycling and environmental preservation in Enugu metropolis
  • What are the core environmental problems in Enugu Metropolis
  • What is the attitude of government and residents of Enugu Metropolis towards the adoption of recycling?

1.5 Research Hypotheses

The following hypotheses are formulated for the study:

Ho:      There is no relationship between recycling and environmental preservation in Enugu metropolis

H1:       There is significant relationship between recycling and environmental preservation in Enugu metropolis

Ho:      Government and residents of Enugu Metropolis have negative attitude towards the adoption of recycling for environmental preservation

H2:       Government and residents of Enugu Metropolis have positive attitude towards the adoption of recycling for environmental preservation

1.6 Significance of the Study

This study will be of great benefit to both citizens and residents of Enugu Metropolis, government and the general public at large in knowing the importance of recycling in environmental preservation.

The study will also help the general public in adopting the right attitude towards the disposal of wastes and as such help to preserve the environment at large.

The study will also help the government in formulating policies geared towards sustainable environmental preservation in Nigeria and Enugu metropolis in particular.

The study will also serve as reference materials to other researchers in the future.

1.7 Operational Definition of Terms

Waste: Waste is any substance which is discarded after primary use, or is worthless, defective and of no use. In this study waste refers to those used discarded materials from homes and industries which degrades the environment.

Recycling: Recycling is the process of converting waste materials into new materials and objects in order to preserve the environment.

Environment: the surroundings or conditions in which a person, animal, or plant lives or operates.

Preservation: this means keeping the environment safe from harm; destruction, or decay.

Importance: the state or fact of being of great significance or value

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