The Role of Social Capital in Community-Based Urban Solid Waste Management: Case Studies From Ibadan Metropolis, Nigeria
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Urban solid waste management (USWM) problems facing cities in the developed and developing world are well documented; however, progress in tackling them is very slow in the latter. There are still many communities, neighbourhoods, and local markets where garbage is not collected for a considerable length of time. Many of the affected houses are situated in poor neighbourhoods on the edges and core areas of cities. In order to secure the future of urban environments in the developing world from continuous or perpetual decay, it is important to study the role of social capital in urban solid waste management. Toward this end, a case study research was carried out in Ibadan, Nigeria. For the purpose of the study, social capital was defined as the attributes of social organization, such as trust, cultural norms and social networks by which communities facilitate action. Emerging research suggests that social capital might have an important role to play in effective community-based urban solid waste management initiatives. Empirical evidence suggests that communities with a high level of social capital are in better shape to organize a community-based urban solid waste management project, if the other factors remain supportive. This dissertation seeks to place the concept of social capital in the practice of urban solid waste management, especially at the community level as well as on a wider philosophical and policy levels. The intention here is to advance the understanding of social capital both in relation to its nature as a quality of community life and in terms of its significance as an instrument in the hands of the agents of change. Therefore, this research examines the degree to which social capital and community-based organizations are important in the overall functioning of urban solid waste management at the community level in Ibadan, Nigeria. The main objective of the research was to explore the role of social capital in community-based urban solid waste management and to understand why people participate in voluntary associations for the provision of common goods in Ibadan, Nigeria. This objective is pursued in three specific dimensions: (i) to understand and document the feature of the current solid waste management system in Ibadan; (ii) to explore the extent to which social capital affects community-based urban solid waste management success; (iii) to identify other elements that could facilitate successful urban solid waste management at the community and institutional levels. This study adopts both quantitative and qualitative approaches using multiple data gathering techniques (e.g.) semi-structured face-to-face interviews, direct field observation, focus group, and information sections; conversations with community leaders, key informants, government officials and waste generators to gather different but relevant information and data. The secondary data includes data on waste management from Oyo State Solid Waste Management Authority (OSSWMA) and valuation data from the office of Sustainable Ibadan Project (SIP). The quantitative section of the research encompasses 66 core questions on Social Capital via Integrated Questionnaire. The structured questionnaire measures various elements of social capital using four proxies. The data set covered 7 communities and 385 households and the basic unit of analysis was the neighbourhood. Major findings from the study include: (i) No evidence suggesting that homogeneity is a virtue for collective action in urban solid waste management at the community level nor is there evidence suggesting that homogeneity increases civic engagement in the communities studied. (ii) Empirical evidence suggests that to a great extent, social capital can influence the success of community-based urban solid waste management initiatives. However, social networks among private and professional associations, the density and diversity of social network differ within and between communities. (iii) Empirical field observation results show that social capital had positive influence on the success of community-based urban solid waste management in Bodija, Ayeye, and communities. (iv)The study results indicate that the residents of Agbowo, NTC Road, Foko, and Sasa communities failed to establish community-based USWM initiatives for a range of reasons. Some of the reasons include the paucity of face-to-face interactions among households; resident’s cultural and behavioural differences, lack of charismatic leadership and lack of cooperation among community members. (v) The study results and direct field observations also suggest that there is high-level of social capital among individuals involved in urban solid waste management at the community level in the city of Ibadan. (vi) Field information/observations from Ayeye, Bodija, and Alesinloye communities reveal that social networks and interpersonal relationships were constructed along the line of local identity among the residents. (vii) Empirical findings suggest that the presence of a network of ties based on acquaintances, business partnerships, religious groups, and people from the same region, living in the same community, serve as a foundation for building social relations. The study concluded that Putnam’s generalization and conceptualization of social capital is not completely or equally applicable to different social and political environments. Therefore, it needs to be contextualized according to local problems in order to obtain the gains. The research also reveals that social capital alone is not enough to form community-based urban solid waste management projects in Ibadan, Nigeria. It works well with other elements such as collaborative, incremental planning and community capacity building.