Improving Environmental Health Hazards

Emanating from Indiscriminate Dumping of Solid Waste through Leadership Approach: A Case of Benin City, Nigeria



Victor Nnannaya Okorie1 and Oludolapo Ibrahim Olanrewaju2

1,2Department of Quantity Surveying, University of Benin, Edo State, Nigeria

2Dollahills Research Consult, Lagos State, Nigeria
2Dollasoft Technologies, Lagos State, Nigeria



Causes of environmental health hazards have been exclusively focused on the inadequacies of environmental laws, regulations and poor policies with less attention given to leadership and leaders’ behaviour. This study seeks to examine the relevance of leadership and leaders’ behaviour in improving environmental health hazards in Benin City. Questionnaire survey was structured from literature and administered to managers, workers and truck drivers of Edo State Waste Management Board (ESWMB). IBM SPSS version 23 and Microsoft Excel were used for data analysis while Microsoft Visio was used to design the models. The study revealed that there is a link between effective leadership and worker performance in term of regular collection and disposal of solid waste from the illegal dumpsites to recycling sites. Kindness with mean score value of 4.057 was ranked highest among the leadership qualities that could motivate workers for exceptional performance. The paper concludes that with visible and transparent leadership, diseases associated with indiscriminate dumping of solid waste in Edo State will be reduced leading to improved public health.  The study therefore recommends that selection and appointment of Chief Executives to ESWMB should be on leadership skills not on political allegiance.

Keyword: Dumpsite, Environmental, hazard, health, leadership, solid wast


Causes of environmental health hazards have been exclusively focused on the inadequacies of environmental laws, regulations and poor policies with less attention given to leadership and leaders behaviour. According to Yukl (2011) leadership and leaders’ behaviour have been linked to organisational success. Naoum (2011) contends that organisational exceptional performance including productivity and profitability depends on the quality of leadership.  Achua and Lussier (2010) confirmed the link between high performance and leadership in the United States by developing a leadership model where the leaders’ traits/charismas were found to give rise to influence, inspiration and motivation, leading to exceptionally high commitment and willingness to achieve organisational goals/ tasks.

It could be argued that one of the reasons why World conventions and summits on environmental issues since 1952 have not achieved significant improvement in the areas of public health is not absence of laws and policies but poor leadership. On this note, Taylor (2011) stated that there is a high demand for leadership rather than managers to manage environmental issues. According to Ogbuigwe (2015) legislation, laws and regulations alone cannot bring about healthy environment; it is only committed and visible leadership that can bring about improvement public health emanating from indiscriminate dumping of solid waste in Nigerian urban cities. Thus, there is a paradigm shift from management to leadership to keep pace with today competitive business world.  In support of the paradigm shift from management to leadership, Lees and Austin (2011) maintain that success of any organisation is dependent upon the quality of leadership not by voluminous rules and regulations that do fail.

However, there is natural tendency for people to believe that enacting a law automatically leads to rectification of the problem it was meant to address. Nonetheless, in sub-Sahara Africa countries, this seen contrast because of low levels of education and cultural differences. Even so, Ogbuigwe (2015) argues that no matter how good the laws and regulations may be, it cannot work by itself, that it needs committed leaders to direct the affairs of the organisation.

Much have been researched in the areas of environmental management and pollution in Nigeria such as challenges of effective environmental enforcement (Edo, 2010), environmental pollution in Nigeria (Hyavyar and Tyav, 2010), waste dumps and their management (Aderogba and Afelumo, 2012) and effective solid waste management (Ikemike, 2015). However, there is little or no research in the area of leadership and environmental health hazards emanating from indiscriminate dumping of solid waste in Nigeria. Therefore, this paper tends to fill in this gap by examining the relevance of leadership and leaders’ behaviour relative to environmental health hazards in Nigeria.


2.1 Concept of leadership

Leadership has no single definition as it cuts across different disciplines. This means that the term ‘leadership’ is defined according to situation and context. To Western (2008) ‘leadership’ is the art of motivating a group of people to act towards achieving a common goal. While, Northouse (2010) describes leadership as personality traits, behaviour, power and influence. To Yukl (2010) ‘leadership’ in an organization is used to describe a certain type of social interaction between people, while the term leader is used to denote a person who has influence over others.

Tracy and Chee (2013) argued that leadership is action not position. Our concern of leadership in this context is to relate leadership action in a corporate body like Edo State Waste Management Board. This corporate entity called Edo State Waste Management Board is responsible for collection and disposal of solid waste generated within Benin Urban City. Therefore, the person whose actions are to bring about effective or ineffective in meeting the company’s needs is called the leader. Arguably, prevention of health hazards and diseases emanating from indiscriminating dumping of solid waste in Nigerian major urban cities like Benin City could be improved through committed and visible leadership.

2.2 Leadership and Environmental health management

Leadership and leaders behaviour revolve around directing and guiding people, influencing their thoughts and behaviour, motivating and controlling them to work towards goals that are regarded by the group and organisation as desirable and achievable (Naoum, 2011). Improve health hazards and diseases emanating from indiscriminate dumping of solid/industrial wastes in Nigerian urban cities falls within the ambit of what leaders can do. Leadership in the area of environmental management is relatively new. Perhaps, not until the 1988 Koko toxic waste dumping saga that forced the Federal government of Nigeria to establish the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (FEPA), Federal Ministry of Environment and other relevant agencies to control and manage all environmentally related issues in the country (Ikemike, 2015).

Regrettably, these institutional legal frameworks and other mitigating measures by Nigerian governments have not yielded enough positive results. For instance, in all major roads in Nigerian urban cities there will be over 1000 illegal dumpsite. The most pertinent question now, is it the lack of intuitional and legal framework that are responsible for the indiscriminate dumping of solid waste along all major roads in our urban cities?


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How to cite this paper: Okorie, V. N. and Olanrewaju, O. I. (2019). Improving Environmental Health Hazards Emanating from Indiscriminate Dumping of Solid Waste through Leadership Approach: A Case of Benin City, Nigeria. PM World Journal, Vol. VIII, Issue II (February). Available online at https://pmworldjournal.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/pmwj79-Feb2019-Okorie-Olanrewaju-Improving-Environmental-Health-through-Leadership.pdf


About the Authors

Dr. Victor Nnannaya Okorie

University of Benin Ugbowo
Edo State, Nigeria


Dr. Victor Nnannaya Okorie
is a Senior Lecturer and currently serving as the Assistant Dean of Faculty of Environmental Sciences, University of Benin. He holds a Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Construction Management from the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, Port Elizabeth, South Africa in 2014.  His research interest is on construction health and safety (H&S) with focus on culture, behaviour and leadership in relation to construction health and safety performance. Dr Victor can be contacted on [email protected], [email protected].


Oludolapo Ibrahim Olanrewaju

University of Benin Ugbowo, Edo State, Nigeria
Dollahills Research Consult, Lagos, Nigeria
Dollasoft Technologies, Lagos, Nigeria



Oludolapo Ibrahim Olanrewaju is a young multitalented Quantity surveyor, researcher and programmer. He attended Federal University of Technology, Minna where he studied Bachelor of Technology in Quantity surveying and graduated in 2017. He graduated with a First Class and emerged the best graduating student in department of Quantity surveying for 2017 set.  Oludolapo has a strong passion for ICT and he has been involved in series of software projects like DOLLAQUESS (Quantity surveying software he designed), decision support systems, inventory manager and others. He works with Dollasoft Technologies as a Freelance Software Developer and Dollahills Research Consult as a Freelance Data analyst and Researcher, and he is currently observing his one-year mandatory National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) at Department of Quantity surveying, Univeristy of Benin, Edo State. His research interests are on environmental health, building information modelling, construction informatics, construction health and safety (H&S), construction management, construction emissions, green construction, etc. Oludolapo can be contacted on [email protected], [email protected].