This study investigates suitable sites for Municipal Solid Waste disposal in Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) and Bwari Area Council, Abuja. The main sites of the municipal solid waste dumpsites covering important regions of AMAC, and Bwari Area Council Abuja were designated for collecting air quality data. The sampling was done at major dumpsites located around residential areas in the study area. Three (3) visits were performed on all the sites for primary data collection and the average values for respective parameters were recorded at each sampling location. Airborne particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10), carbon dioxide (CO2), formaldehyde (HCHO), temperature and humidity were measured simultaneously at source. All measurements were done in 1-hour mean based on limits set by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Environment (FMEnv). Sampling of air pollutant levels was performed in-situ measurement using calibrated Hand-held Temptop M2000 2nd Generation multi-functional detector and each location was geo-referenced using a handheld GARMIN GPS device. The air quality detector was positioned at 1.5 m height above the ground level to measure PM2.5 (µg/m3), PM10 (µg/m3), CO2 (ppm), HCHO (mg/m3), temperature (0C) and humidity (%). The indiscriminate disposal of waste in AMAC and Bwari Area Council of the Federal Capital Territory shows the type of menace of open disposal of solid waste which defaces the aesthetics of the urban centre, and health threats it poses to the inhabitants of these areas. The land use maps generated for the study area were used to understand the dominant land use and to assess the extent of urban expansion in the area between the specified periods. The concentration of suspended particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10) and carbon dioxide (CO2) emission in the ambient air at the vicinity of the dumpsites around the residential areas exceed the WHO acceptable threshold limit except formaldehyde.

Keywords: Air pollution; particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10), carbon dioxide, formaldehyde land use and GIS.


Municipal Solid Waste Management (MSWM) has become a topical issue in urban areas especially in developing countries due to industrialization and urbanization. It is becoming a growing threat to the environment and living organisms (Chatterjee, 2020). Globally, an estimated 2.6 million tons per day municipal solid waste is produced, and the quantity may increase to 4.5 million tons per day by 2050, according to the International Solid Waste Association (ISWA) (ISWA, 2022). Inadequate and indiscriminate MSWM activities can pollute the air, soil and water since high biotas are added through the food chain or enter the human body through the nasal cavity (Angaye et al., 2018). Solid waste management is linked with the control of its production, collection and storage and consequently is transferred to disposal sites by adhering to the best practices and principles of aesthetics, health, finances, and ecological aspects (Ramachandra, 2011; Ramachandra et al., 2012). The life-cycle investigation for MSWM associated with resources and emissions has been studied in detail (Wang et al., 2021).

In developing countries, municipal solid waste (MSW) sites are located near urban areas and water bodies causing poor air quality and unsafe water of the neighbouring regions by emitting harmful pollutants (Mavropoulos & Newman, 2015). Burning of MSW is also a common practice in the developing countries due to low finances and convenience resulting from uncontrolled emission of pollutants: greenhouse gases (GHGs), heavy metals, suspended particulate matter and non-methane volatile organic compounds (Ramachandra et al., 2015; Wang et al., 2017). These emissions pose a great threat to human health and the atmosphere (Wiedinmyer et al., 2014).  One other common practice in the developing countries is the case of scavengers who go about picking different waste materials at dumpsites for monetary benefit, and this activity could lead to health risk (Gutberlet and Baeder, 2008). It has also been reported that dumping of waste along waterway or ocean is a norm among people living in developing countries, and this could cause environmental pollution and diseases (UNEP, 2009).

Pollutants emissions at dumpsites cause adverse impact on the environment and public health. These emissions are inhaled into the human body, penetrate the lungs, and produce different diseases such as asthma, premature death, gastrointestinal diseases, pulmonary and cardiovascular diseases (Rim-Rukeh, 2014). For instance, increased PM2.5 emissions cause acute and chronic lung diseases. An acute exposure is a single exposure to a hazardous pollutant for a short time. Health symptoms may appear immediately after exposure; for instance, a burn when exposed to a strong acid such as from a leaking battery. Chronic exposure occurs over a much longer period of time, usually with repeated exposure in smaller amounts. One reason chronic exposure to even tiny amounts of hazardous substances can lead to harm is bioaccumulation. Some substances are absorbed and stay in human bodies rather than being excreted. They accumulate and cause harm over time.

Exposure to particles that can enter the respiratory system is known to be associated with a range of adverse effects on health. Particles of less than about 2.5 μm diameter (PM2.5) are referred to as Black Carbon (BC) or ‘fine’ particles and are deposited relatively efficiently in the deeper parts of the lung – for example, in the alveolar spaces. Black Carbon consists of pure carbon in several linked forms. It is formed through the incomplete combustion of dumpsites bio-components. According to World Health Organization (WHO, 2012), the systematic review of the available time-series studies, as well as information from panel studies, provides sufficient evidence of an association of short-term (daily) variations in Black Carbon concentrations with short-term changes in health (all-cause and cardiovascular mortality, and cardiopulmonary hospital admissions). Cohort studies provide sufficient evidence of associations of all-cause and cardiopulmonary mortality with long-term average BC exposure.

Dusts from dumpsites can become airborne and move off site through different mechanisms. The amount of dust lifted from the surface of the dumpsite is dependent upon the wind speed, the condition of the surface and the size of the suspended dust particles. The distance travelled by dust emissions will depend on the particle size and on the wind speed and turbulence. Smaller dust particles will stay airborne for longer and disperse over a wider area. Strong and turbulent winds will also keep larger particles airborne for longer. The lives of people living close to solid waste dumpsites are at high risk of deadly diseases (Dalasile & Reddy, 2017).  The concentration of pollutants in ambient air of a specific region is determined by the meteorological parameters (Karar et al., 2006). A study was conducted in Taichung Harbor, Taiwan to investigate the effect of meteorological conditions on pollutants. The correlation analysis showed that meteorological parameters have an impact on the concentration of suspended particulate matter (Fang et al., 2007). A study was made to measure gas emissions in wet and dry seasons in the tropical conditions of Malaysia. Findings from the study showed higher methane and carbon dioxide emissions in the wet season than the dry season (Abushammala et al., 2016).

Poor air quality has impacted human health and welfare globally and this will continue to attract greater attention from relevant stakeholders. The correlation between air quality and diseases such as sore throat, shortness of breath, chest pain, asthma, nausea, bronchitis, lung cancer, and high blood pressure has been investigated (Dockery & Pope, 1994; Pope, 1995; Pope et al., 2002; Sanjay, 2008). Laden et al., (2000) reported a relationship between air quality and increased morbidity and mortality rates. A number of adverse health impacts have been associated with exposure to both PM2.5 and PM10. For PM2.5, short-term exposures up to 24-hours duration have been associated with premature mortality, increased hospital admissions for heart or lung causes, acute and chronic bronchitis, asthma attacks, emergency room visits, respiratory symptoms, and restricted activity days. These adverse health effects have been reported primarily in infants, children, and older adults with preexisting heart or lung diseases. However, short-term exposures to PM10 have been associated primarily with worsening of respiratory diseases, including asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), leading to hospitalization and emergency department visits.

In Nigeria, municipal solid waste (MSW) is generated at a rate beyond the capacity of relevant authorities to handle to maintain a sustainable environment (Adejobi & Olorunnimbe 2012; Amuda et al., 2014). This has caused poor solid waste management system impacting on the public health and the environment in most Nigerian cities (Afon & Afolabi, 2007). Although it is generally noted that large quantities of solid waste are generated daily in Nigeria, the exact figure is difficult to determine as proper records and data on waste generation or disposal are not kept (Michael-Agwuoke & Ekpete, 2013; Nnaji, 2015).

AMAC and Bwari Area Councils of the Federal Capital Territory, Nigeria are rapidly urbanizing and fast becoming characterized by indiscriminate dumpsites that threaten public health.  The current study is carried out to investigate the impact of municipal solid waste dumpsites on air quality around residential areas in AMAC and Bwari Area Councils, Abuja.

1.2 General Background of the Research

Waste management is a major challenge for cities in developing countries, owing to the increasing stream of waste generated, driven by population growth, industrialization, and urbanization (Annepu, 2012), as well as the financial burden of waste management and lack of technical capacity (Guerrero et al., 2013). Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) emanate from industrial and residential activities and generally consist of food, plastic, metal, paper, textile, glass, etc. (Sharholy et al., 2008, Manaf et al., 2009).

According to World Bank, urban population of low and middle-income countries is expected to double from 2 to 4 billion between 2000 and 2030 (World Bank, 2013) and the UNDP further predicted that nearly all the expected growth of the world population (until 2050) will be concentrated in the urban areas of the less developed regions (UNDP, 2012).

Globally, urban areas have been growing rapidly due to the accelerated population growth. Coincidentally, waste production is increasing, and it is considered a vital source of water pollution, air pollution and environment deterioration. Serious environmental problems arise from various industrial and domestic solid wastes, particularly within urban communities (Buenrostro & Bocco, 2003; Manaf et al., 2009). Waste disposal incorporates four different techniques which include dumping, incineration: recycling, and prevention at the source (Tah & Abdussalam, 2016). This study focuses on identifying suitable sites for siting dumpsites in AMAC and Bwari Area Council, Abuja.

 2.1. Aim of the Research

The study aims to identify suitable sites for MSW disposal in Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC) and Bwari Area Council, Abuja. This research will assist in making as well as regulate policies for waste management at the state level and certifying public and environmental protection.

2.2. Objectives of the study
  1. To investigate the land use/land cover types in the study area.
  2. To identify and map out the existing dumpsites in the study area.
  • To identify the most suitable sites for dumpsites in the study area; and
  1. To measure the concentrations of airborne particulate matter (PM5and PM10), carbon dioxide (CO2), and formaldehyde (HCHO) at the selected major dumpsites located around residential areas and compare measured levels with relevant air quality standards.

The exponential population growth in Abuja urban areas is simultaneous to the quantity of MSW generated, leading to heaps of deposit sites, and it is of great concern to the authorities. Nevertheless, the damaging effect caused by indiscriminate dumpsites has raised a lot of concern among the residence in Abuja because of open and uncontrolled combustion of MSW which often leads to fire outbreaks and smoke threatening people’s health and their environs. Moreover, the odour from decomposing MSW in dumpsites alters the air quality and causes street littering which can lead to blockage of drainage systems that has become a common issue. The decomposition of organic waste in dumpsites continuously emits greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane gas which contribute enormously to the depletion of the ozone layer and global warming at large.

Project Goals/Significance of the Study

This study will provide information that will aid in proper siting of solid waste dumpsites as well as to assist Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEBP) in waste management. It will further provide relevant information that is likely to aid in the improvement of poor air quality at the vicinity of dumpsites, thereby improving human health and reducing the number of air quality-related diseases.

The information on the levels of gaseous air pollutants emitted by dumpsites will serve as a guide for future gaseous emission control programs. It will also provide baseline data for developing strategies, policies, and activities to address the issues and concerns of AMAC and Bwari Council in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) regarding sustainable solid waste management.


 Goal 11: Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable.

TARGET: To reduce the adverse per capita environmental impact of cities, including by paying special attention to air quality and municipal and other waste management.

Goal 6: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.

TARGET: To improve water quality by reducing pollution, eliminating dumping, and minimizing release of hazardous chemicals and materials, halving the proportion of untreated wastewater, and substantially increasing recycling and safe reuse globally.


2.3.1 Description of study area

Abuja, the capital city of Nigeria is in the center of Nigeria in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) within latitude 7°25′N and 9°20′N of the equator and longitude 5°45′E and 7°39′E of the meridian (see Fig. 1). The FCT has a land area of 7753.85 km2 square kilometers and a population of about 2,238,800 persons (NPC, 2011). Abuja lies within the Guinea savannah vegetation belt and experiences two seasons (dry and wet). These regions comprise the Precambrian basement complex and sedimentary rocks, which both have very strong influence on the morphological characteristics of the local soil (Ola, 2001). Abuja experiences an average daily minimum and maximum temperature of 20.5°C and 30.8°C respectively. This has its minimum in August and September and the highest in January–March. It has a mean rainfall and humidity of about 119.2 mm and 58.4%, respectively.

Fig. 1. Study area showing sampling locations – dumpsites (green)

2.3.2 Sampling Design

The main sites of the municipal solid waste dumpsites covering important regions of AMAC and Bwari Area Council, Abuja were designated for collecting air quality data. The sampling was done at major dumpsites located around residential areas in the study area. Three (3) visits were performed on all the sites for data collection and the average values for respective parameters were recorded at each sampling location. Airborne particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10), carbon dioxide (CO2), formaldehyde (HCHO), temperature and humidity were measured simultaneously at source. All measurements were done in 1-hour mean based on limits set by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Environment (FMEnv).

 2.3.3 Instrumentation

Sampling of air pollutants levels was performed in-situ using calibrated Hand-held Temptop M2000 2nd Generation multi-functional detector and each location was geo-referenced using a handheld GARMIN GPS device (Fig. 2). The air quality detector was positioned at 1.5 m height above the ground level to measure PM2.5 (µg/m3), PM10 (µg/m3), CO2 (ppm), HCHO (mg/m3), temperature (°) and humidity (%). The Laser PM sensor has a range of 0 – 999 µg/m3 and a resolution of 0.1 µg/m3 while the CO2 sensor has a range of 0 – 5000 ppm and a resolution of 1 ppm. The formaldehyde sensor has a range of 0 – 2 mg/m3 and a resolution of 0.001 mg/m3. Readings were obtained over a range of one hour and then the average was recorded.

Fig. 2. The conceptual framework of experimental design


2.3.4 Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP)

The famous and most widely used Multi-Criteria Evaluation (MCE) method is Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) which was introduced and established by (Saaty, 1988). It is a decision-making tool used in solving multiple criteria problems due to its strength in the determination of relative weight of multiple criteria which are expressed in numerical order of 1 to 9. Pairwise comparison method is carried out among the criteria through the scores and weights assigned to each criterion (Aerts et al., 2005; Mohammed et al., 2018). AHP operation is complex when there is large number of criteria to be the considered in the decision-making process. Saaty (2005) noted the scale values and their definition as shown in Table 2.

Table 2. Pair wise comparison scale

Intensity of importance Definition
1 Extremely less important
2 Very strongly less important
3 Strongly less important
4 Moderately less important
5 Equally important
6 Moderate important
7 Strongly important
8 Demonstrate important
9 Extreme important

Fig. 3. Methodology workflow

The pair wise comparison method was used also in this study to compare each criterion in the AHP extension in ArcGIS (extAhp 2.0), and relative importance of each criterion to another was determined and afterwards the weights of each criterion was produced (See Table 3).

Table 3. Criteria weight and ranking

Main Criteria Sub-Criteria Class Suitability Class Ranges and Ratings Suitability Class Ratings Weight (%)
Water Bodies 0 – 1129.86 Unsuitable 1
1129.87 – 2259.71 Less Suitable 2 9.523
2259.72 – 3389.57 Suitable 3
3389.58 – 4519.43 Most Suitable 4
Soil type Silt loam Unsuitable 1
Silt Less Suitable 2 2.635
Silty clay Suitable 3
Clay Most Suitable 4
Environmental Slope 0 – 16.6° Most Suitable 4
16.61° – 33.21° Suitable 3 4.539
33.22° – 49.81° Less Suitable 2
49.82° – 66.41° Unsuitable 1
Residential areas 0 – 5809.94 Unsuitable 1
5809.95 – 11619.88 Less Suitable 2 20.732
11619.89 – 17429.83 Suitable 3
17429.84 – 23239.77 Most Suitable 4
Road 0 – 5381.93 Most Suitable 4
5381.94 – 10763.85 Suitable 3 42.312
10763.86 – 16145.78 Less Suitable 2
16145.79 – 21527.71 Unsuitable 1
Population Density 15.67 – 2199.03 Most Suitable 4
 Economic 2199.04 – 4382.4 Suitable 3 12.445
4382.41 – 6565.77 Less Suitable 2
6565.78 – 8749.14 Unsuitable 1
LU/LC Cultivated land Most Suitable 4
Forest Unsuitable 1
Grassland Most Suitable 4 7.815
Shrubland Suitable 3
Water body Less Suitable 2
Built-up areas Less Suitable 2
Bareland Most Suitable 4

 2.3.5 Assessment of the existing dumpsites in AMAC-Bwari, Area Council, Abuja

During the field investigation, the coordinates of the existing dumpsites were obtained from the study area using a hand-held GPS device by a field measurement approach. The coordinates of the existing dumpsites collected during field investigation was tabulated into an excel sheet and then imported into the ArcGIS environment as a CSV file, then converted to shapefile. The sampled dumpsites were overlaid on the resultant dumpsite suitability map to assess the level of compliance based on the adopted siting criteria. Table 4 below shows the coordinates of the exiting dumpsites in AMAC and Bwari Area Council, Abuja.

Table 5 Location of Existing Dumpsites in AMAC & Bwari Area Council, Abuja

S/No Location Latitude Longitude
1 Lugbe Main Dumpsite 8.97353 7.36762
2 Lugbe Dumpsite 2 8.97482 7.370005
3 Chika Dumpsite 1 8.993023 7.403382
4 Chika Dumpsite 2 8.992845 7.409847
5 Chika dumpsite 3 8.993815 7.404528
6 Aleita Dumpsite 1 8.98924 7.403012
7 Jadore Dumpsite Chika 8.987362 7.406105
8 Aleita Dumpsite 2 8.986178 7.397357
9 Piwoyi Main Dumpsite 8.996953 7.38829
10 Federal Mortgage Bank Estate 8.963568 7.386917
11 Progress Dynamic Academy Penthouse 8.965042 7.38066
12 Aiben Emerald Garden Trademoore Estate 8.959137 7.361003
13 Phase 2 bridge Trademoore Estate 8.957015 7.368128
14 Ajuji hotel Apo 9.002023 7.473106
15 Behind zone E Apo 1 9.002121 7.45296
16 Behind zone E Apo 2 9.00134 7.47688
17 Apo setl. High cou 8.975974 7.500644
18 ORS Hotel Apo setl. 8.976626 7.497941
19 Apo retl. Market 8.977583 7.503818
20 Apo-Dutse Major DS 8.982963 7.4851
21 Kasundari Market 9.017252 7.518538
22 Kusandari 9.017208 7.51812
23 Guzape 1 (Asokoro) 9.01831 7.512792
24 Guzape 2 (Asokoro) 9.017635 7.5118
25 Guzape 3 (Asokoro) 9.016883 7.51132
26 Utako 9.064516 7.435675
27 Utako 2 9.061731 7.436493
28 Jabi 9.061701 7.418701
29 Jabi 2 9.062105 7.418318
30 Utc Area 10 Phase 1 9.035216 7.45826
31 Utc Area 10 Phase 2 9.036459 7.48635
32 Area 2  Dumpsite 9.035921 7.477784
33 Garki New Market 9.026657 7.491566
34 Area 1 Secretariat 9.026043 7.470263
35 Commerce Plaza Area 1 9.02187 7.473087
36 Area 1 Durumi 9.019095 7.468173
37 Garki 2 Major Dumpsite 9.019122 7.4904265
38 Kubwa along phase 3 road 9.143727 7.33562
39 Kubwa pipeline 9.1542 7.318307
40 Kubwa central market along biyaji junction 9.157433 7.323905
41 Kubwa Aso savings 9.135267 7.346255
42 Durumi 1 9.018203 7.468571
43 Durumi 1 new market 9.014735 7.468609
44 Gaduwa junction 9.003276 7.464111
45 LEA primary school Durumi 3 8.99048 7.462298
46 Durumi 3 (a) 8.993404 7.461349
47 Durumi 3 (b) 8.993425 7.460164
48 Durumi 3 main dump 8.994915 7.462317
49 Durumi 2 (new site) 9.009072 7.462671
50 Durumi 2 (waste collection point) 9.006335 7.463948
51 Baran Gwani 9.29327 7.385914
52 Court 9.282885 7.385489
53 Area Council 9.287262 7.3773
54 Stadium 9.283265 7.380225
55 Ushafa 9.256112 7.384992
56 Dutse Mkt Dump 9.136795 7.366681
57 Dutse Mkt Dump 2 9.136725 7.368538
58 Dutse Sokkale Roundabout 9.14932 7.373823
59 Dutse Makaranta RS 9.169345 7.379353
60 Dutse Baupma RS 9.174485 7.381003
61 Opp. Hayatu Islamic Sch Fha Karu Site 8.998985 7.560228
62 Adjacent Hayatu Sch. Fha Karu Site 8.998877 7.559792
63 Off Karu Motor Park Karu Site 9.016492 7.565177
64 Jahi 9.095316 7.443754
65 Mabushi 9.084446 7.453651
66 1st Avenue, Gwarimpa Estate 9.09879 7.417238
67 Galadima, Gwarimpa Estate 9.20913 7.387243
68 3rd Avenue, Gwarimpa Estate 9.099608 7.407838
69 Makabarta 9.148432 7.485387
70 Energe 9.132322 7.49389
71 Liberty Hall 9.1331 7.492027
72 Crown Plaza 9.131947 7.491143


2.4.1 General View of Solid Wastes Disposal in AMAC and Bwari Area Council

Municipal solid wastes which include plastics (nylon and rubber) and other biodegradable and non-biodegradable wastes are indiscriminately disposed of in AMAC and Bwari Area Council, Abuja. Plates 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 depict the type of menace that the indiscriminate open disposal of municipal solid wastes poses, the defacing of the aesthetics of the urban centres and the health threats to the inhabitants who are exposed. The open dumpsites were seen sited at busy streets and junctions, close to residential areas, close to water bodies, in open fields, etc. There are few waste disposal containers available at strategic locations in AMAC and Bwari which has caused deterioration of solid waste disposal situation within the area councils and their environs. Most times, these wastes are burnt by the residents to minimize the quantity and odour. Waste generation in FCT Abuja is quite high due to the economic status and population density of the Federal Capital and there was poor waste management which had significant impacts on the socio-economic development of the city. The composition of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) is influenced by the level of income; the season of the year; population; culture and lifestyle of people living in that community. Nigeria, in particular, is currently struggling with the menace of the upsurge in the quantity MSW in her major cities, but concern only with its collection, transportation, and disposal, however neglecting the prospect of material recover from MSW for recycling (Olaide & Dias, 2020).

Plate 1. Open dumpsite at Opposite Garki Market, Garki II, Abuja (Source: Fieldwork, 2022)

Plate 2. Open dumpsite along the major road at Apo by GTB Junction, Apo, Abuja (Source: Fieldwork, 2022)

Plate 3. Open dumpsite at Durumi II, Abuja (Source: Fieldwork, 2022)

Plate 4. Open dumpsite at Dutse, Abuja (Source: Fieldwork, 2022)

Plate 5. Open dumpsite at Jahi-Katampe Road, Abuja

2.4.2 Landuse/Landcover Analysis

The study analyzed area variations in LULC categories in AMAC and Bwari Area Council, Abuja using the 2000 and 2020 GlobeLand30 datasets with the overall accuracy of 85.72% and Kappa coefficient of 0.82. These LULC maps were generated from Landsat TM/ETM+ and OLI/TIRS using a pixel-object knowledge-based image classification technique (Chen et al., 2015). GlobeLand30 mapped 10 LULC categories, however, LULC types (at 30 m resolution) including bareland, builtup areas, cultivated land, forest, grassland, shrubland and water body were found in the study area (Table 5).

Table 5. Description of landuse/landcover types in AMAC and Bwari, Abuja

ForestLands covered with trees with vegetation cover over 30%, including deciduous and coniferous forests, and sparse woodland with cover 10–30%.

LULC type Description
Bare land Land left without vegetation cover, eroded land due to land degradation and
weathered rock surface, including exposed soils, excavation sites, quarry and vacant lands.
Built-up Area Lands modified by human activities, including all kinds of habitation,
industrial and mining area, transportation facilities, and interior
urban green zones and water bodies.
Cultivated Land Lands used for agriculture, horticulture and gardens, including paddy fields, irrigated and dry farmland, vegetation and fruit gardens, land for greenhouses economic cropland which is planted shrub crop or herbaceous crop, abandoned by the land reclamation of arable land.
Grassland Lands covered by natural grass with a cover over 10% including typical grassland, meadow grassland, alpine grassland, desert grass land.
Shrubland Lands covered with shrubs with a cover over 30%, including
deciduous and evergreen shrubs and desert steppe with a cover over 10%.
Water Body Water bodies in the land area, including river, lake, reservoir, fish pond, etc.

The landuse maps generated for the study area were used to understand the landuse that is dominant and to assess the extent of urban expansion in the area between the specified periods. The Figs. 5 and 6 depict the landuse/landcover maps of 2000 and 2020. Table 6 depicts landuse/landcover gain and loss statistics in AMAC and Bwari Area Council, Abuja within a period of 20 years as a result of anthropogenic activities. The results revealed that the bareland and shrubland have been reduced drastically by 865.26 km2 (-99.68%) and 62.44 km2 (-79.74%) respectively. However, the builtup areas which describes urbanization rate in the study area increased from 145.64 km2 in 2000 to 483.27 km2 which is 231.825%. It was also deduced that forest reduced by 1.72km2.

Figs. 6 & 7 show the change which occurred as a result of urbanization in the area which is subject to an increase in population within a 20-year period. This rapid urbanization rate which is 337.63km2 between 2000 and 2020 has brought about an increase in the quantity of municipal solid waste dumpsites in the area.

Fig. 4. Landuse/Landcover map of AMAC-Bwari for 2000

Fig. 5. Landuse/Landcover map of AMAC-Bwari for 2020

Table 6. Landuse Landcover Statistics

Landuse/Landcover 2000 (km2) 2020 (km2) Change (km2) % Change
Bareland 868 2.74 -865.26 -99.6843
Builtup Areas 145.64 483.27 337.63 231.825
Cultivated Land 619.44 1072.5 453.06 73.14026
Forest 213.12 214.84 1.72 0.807057
Grass Land 1326.91 1492.26 165.35 12.46128
Shrubland 78.3 15.86 -62.44 -79.7446
Water Body 10.08 12.8 2.72 26.98413
Total 3261.490 3294.270


Fig. 6. Builtup Area Map of AMAC-Bwari for 2000

Fig. 7. Builtup Area Map of AMAC-Bwari for 2020

2.4.3 Municipal Solid Waste Siting Criteria and Suitability Analysis

An improved municipal solid waste siting process must go through a rigorous process of criteria evaluation to avert subsequent negative long-term impact on the residents and the environment such as groundwater contamination, air pollution, environmental degradation, etc. Similarly, it should be sited very far away from population density areas for prevention of public health. Due to economic factor, dumpsites are not advisable to be located far from the main road. This is to reduce cost of waste collection, transportation, and evacuation. The dumpsite criteria maps were prepared based on literature review and constraint criteria formulated by EPA landfill manual 2006 (see Table 7).

Table 7. Constraint criteria formulated from EPA landfill manual 2006

Criteria Unsuitable Areas
Distance from water body Less than 160 m
Slope Areas with slope greater than 15°
Distance from residential areas Less than 300 m
Distance from roads Less than 100 m
Soil Areas with Alluvial soils Water Body

Dumpsites cannot be sited adjacent to water bodies such as dams, lakes, rivers, streams, and ponds (Ahmad et al., 2014). This is because of adverse environmental effects which can occur and possibly contaminate the water due to leachate infiltration being produced from the dumpsite area (Güler & Yomralıoğlu, 2017). Thus, a 160m buffer zone was created for each of the water body in the study area in line with the EPA siting guidelines (see Fig. 8). Distance to road

The topo-sheet map of the study area was utilized to extract the road data. The road data include information on tertiary roads, secondary roads, trunks, and their connections. This data is necessary because when selecting a dumpsite, accessibility of the site must be a top priority especially for vehicles used collection, evacuation, and disposal of waste. Thus, high scores were assigned to areas near the roads and vice versa (see Fig. 9). Slope

Slope is a vital criterion when siting a dump site. From economic point of view, the cost of construction of dumpsites in areas with a steep (or high) slope is more expensive compared to constructing in areas with low or medium slope. The slope layer for this research was generated from the 12.5m resolution Digital Elevation Model (DEM) from ALOS-PALSAR. The areas with slope greater than 15° are considered unsuitable for establishing dumpsites (Alanbari et al., 2014) (see Fig. 10). Landuse/Landcover (LU/LC)

The LU/LC map was derived from the GlobeLand30 datasets with 30 m grids retrieved from the archives of the National Geomatics Centre of China (http://www.globallandcover.com). Different ratings were assigned to each land use category based on its suitability level. Areas such as forest was assigned with 1 score while areas like water body and built-up areas were given 2 score and so on (see Fig. 11). Soils

Soil texture is one of the major criteria to be considered when siting a dump site. This is to prevent groundwater contamination from the dumpsite leachate. The soils of the study area are divided based on permeability including silt loam, silt, silty clay, and clay. Thus, the regions with high permeability rate are classified as unsuitable for siting dumpsites (Sumathi et al., 2008) and were assigned with 1 score. This is because leachate infiltration is likely to occur in those areas by contaminating both the surface and ground water of neighbouring regions. Also, regions with low permeability rate were given much consideration and are considered suitable for siting dumpsites with a given score of 4 (see Fig. 13). Residential Areas

This criterion does not allow siting dumpsite in the area. The presence of any municipal solid waste disposal site near or within urban or rural residential areas may result to serious health and environmental problems. A desirable distance from landfill sites to the residential areas should be greater than or equal to 1km (Güler & Yomralıoğlu, 2017, Gorsevski et al., 2012). There, distance of 300m and above was considered in this study as suitable dumpsite locations. Population Density

Population density is one of the key criteria to be considered when siting a dump site. The population density data of the study area at 1km were retrieved from the archives of WorldPop (https://www.worldpop.org). The presence of any waste disposal site near or within densely populated areas may affect the health and well-being of the residents. Therefore, areas with high population density were considered unsuitable for siting dumpsites while regions with low population density were classified as the most suitable (see Fig. 12).

The final suitability map was obtained after assigning weight to each criterion through the AHP method. The reclassify tool in Spatial Analyst Extension in ArcGIS was deployed to reclassify each criteria map which was converted from vector to raster format. The Weighted Overlay tool was used to produce the best suitability map for dumpsites in the study area. The results were classified based on four (4) classes which include unsuitable, less suitable, suitable, and most suitable (Fig. 14). During the fieldwork, a total of seventy-two (72) dumpsites (both major and indiscriminate) were mapped within the study area. The 72 dumpsites were compared with the final suitability map (see Fig. 15) and it was observed that the dumpsites fall under unsuitable, less suitable and suitable classes. There was no dumpsite that fall within most suitable category. Further analysis revealed that 61.11 % of the total sampled dumpsites were unsuitable, 34.72 % less suitable and 4.17 % suitable.

Fig. 14. Dumpsite Suitability Map For AMAC and Bwari Area Council, Abuja

Fig. 15. The status of existing dumpsites in AMAC and Bwari Area Council, Abuja (Source: Fieldwork, 2022)

2.4.4 Air Quality Assessment of Solid Waste Dumpsite Located in Residential Areas in AMAC and Bwari Area Council, Abuja

The measurement of air quality was carried out at eighteen (18) major dumpsites located in the study area. Permission was sought from the scavengers on these frequently used major dumpsites. The 18 dumpsites were chosen for air quality assessment because of their size and proximity to residential areas. The geolocation information of the sampled dumpsites is presented in Table 8.





Table 8. Major dumpsites surveyed in AMAC and Bwari

S/No Location Dumpsite ID Latitude Longitude
1. Lugbe MSWS 1 8.97353 7.36762
2. Piwoyi MSWS 2 8.996953 7.38829
3. Apo-Dutse MSWS 3 8.982963 7.4851
4. Guzape 1 (Asokoro) MSWS 4 9.01831 7.512792
5. Utako MSWS 5 9.064516 7.435675
6. Utako 2 MSWS 6 9.061731 7.436493
7. Garki 2 MSWS 7 9.019122 7.4904265
8. Kubwa along phase 3 road MSWS 8 9.143727 7.33562
9. Kubwa central market along Biyaji Junction MSWS 9 9.157433 7.323905
10. Kubwa Aso savings MSWS 10 9.135267 7.346255
11. Durumi 1 MSWS 11 9.018203 7.468571
12. Bwari Court MSWS 12 9.282885 7.385489
13. Jahi MSWS 13 9.095316 7.443754
14. Mabushi MSWS 14 9.084446 7.453651
15. 1st Avenue, Gwarimpa Estate MSWS 15 9.09879 7.417238
16. Galadima, Gwarimpa Estate MSWS 16 9.20913 7.387243
17. 3rd Avenue, Gwarimpa Estate MSWS 17 9.099608 7.407838
18. Makabarta Mpape MSWS 18 9.132602 7.495668

    *N/B: MSWS represents Municipal Solid Waste Site

The concentrations of suspended particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10) and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the ambient air at the vicinity of the dumpsites around the residential areas in AMAC and Bwari Area Council, Abuja is presented in Fig. 16. The emission levels at the sampled locations were compared with the relevant air quality standards to ascertain the tolerance limits (see Table 9). The ambient air quality sampled shows the presence of a high concentration of toxic gases including PM2.5, PM10 and carbon dioxide (CO2) in the study area.

At the residential areas’ level, the mean concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) gas recorded at the 18 different dumpsites in AMAC, and Bwari Area Council is 419 ppm. Findings from the study according to Fig. 16 shows that high CO2 concentration of 503 ppm is observed in the dumpsite located at Kubwa central market along Biyaji Junction (MSWS 9). Further results show that the CO2 levels measured at the 18 dumpsites exceed the WHO acceptable safe limit of 350 ppm for atmospheric CO2.

Similarly, the mean concentration of PM2.5 recorded in the vicinity of the municipal solid waste dumpsites in the study area is 468.71 µg/m3 with high concentration of 950.8 µg/m3 at the dumpsite located at Bwari Court (MSWS 12) which is above the FMEnv limit of 250 µg/m3 (see Fig. 17). However, dumpsite located at Garki 2 (MSWS 7) recorded the least PM2.5 concentration of 109.1 µg/m3.

The mean concentration of PM10 at the 18 dumpsites located in the vicinity of the residential areas is 561.21 µg/m3 which exceeds the FMEnv and the WHO acceptable limits of 150 µg/m3 and 50 µg/m3 respectively. The suspended PM10 concentrations were highest at a dumpsite located in Lugbe (920.9 µg/m3) and the least at Piwoyi (105.3 µg/m3).

The mean formaldehyde concentrations measured at the dumpsites in the residential areas were below acceptable limit (i.e., healthy), except the dumpsites at Bwari Court (MSWS 12) and 3rd Avenue, Gwarimpa Estate (MSWS 17) which recorded emissions that are unhealthy (see Table 10 and Fig. 17).

Table 9. Emissions tolerance limits and standards for ambient air quality

Pollutants USEPA WHO Guidelines and World Bank Standards National Air Quality Standard for Nigeria
Particulate Matter 10 (PM10) 150 50 µg/m3 (24 h) 150 µg/m3 (24 h)
Particulate Matter 2.5 (PM2.5) 35 25 µg/m3 (24 h) 250 µg/m3 (24 h)
Carbon dioxide (CO2)  – 350 ppm
Formaldehyde (HCHO)  –

Source: FMEnv (1991); WHO (2006)

Fig. 16. Mean air quality levels of municipal solid waste dumpsites located in residential areas in AMAC and Bwari Area Council, Abuja.

Table 10. Reference standard for HCHO

Status/Pollutant Healthy Unhealthy
HCHO (mg/m3) ≤ 0.1 ˃ 0.1

Fig. 17. Mean formaldehyde level of municipal solid waste dumpsites located in residential areas in AMAC and Bwari Area Council, Abuja.


Municipal solid waste management is a major problem in the increasing high rate of urbanization which has increased by 337.63km2 between 2000 and 2020 and has brought about an increase in the quantity of municipal solid waste dumpsites in the area therefore rigorous process of evaluation must be undertaken to avert negative long-term impact on the residents and the environment. Groundwater contamination, environmental degradation, air pollution, water pollution, land pollution e.tc. are some impacts.

Analysis shows that only 4.1% of the present dumpsites are suitable for siting dumpsites in the study area.

Air quality assessment was carried out for 18 sites, the sites were selected because of their proximity to residential areas and size of the dumpsites. These dumpsites were found to be high in concentration of carbon dioxide as it exceeded the world health organization standards (WHO) acceptable limit of 350 ppm for CO2 in the atmosphere. The pm 2.5 was recorded to be above the FMEnv standards. The pm10 was also found to be above the FMEnv limits in the study area.

Indiscriminate siting of dumpsites also defaces the city’s aesthetics and causes a lot of public health issues.


Dump sites should be chosen using the criteria from this study in line with the EPA and FMEnv regulations. The criteria include but not limited to closeness to water bodies, slope of the areas, nearness to residential areas, distance from the road and type of soil. However, indiscriminate burning of MSW should also be discouraged and avoided as this will help in reducing the effects of an unhealthy atmospheric condition and reduce ozone depletion. Finally, the adoption of findings from this research will aid in improving the quality of life of residents around the dumpsites and preserve the environment.


  1. Federal Ministry of Environment
  2. Federal Ministry of Health
  3. Federal Ministry of Water Resources
  4. Abuja Environmental Protection Board
  5. Green Bond
  6. World Bank


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