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1.1. Background to the Study
A pleasant environment that promotes healthful living and is hazard free is a fundamental right of every human being. However, deposition of faecal matter near homes, contamination of sources of drinking water, poorly designed sewage system, dumping of refuse and sweeping into the gutters, defecating and disposing of faeces by the street corners and waterways and selling of food stuffs and cooked food by the road side are all unwholesome practices that pose potential risk to the development of diseases. Washing of hands after defecation and before preparing food is of particular importance in reducing disease transmission, Poor housing also contributes to poor environment health and its consequent input in the health of the Nigerians. Measures for the prevention of disease mostly consist of providing clean water and proper sanitation to populations who do not yet have access to basic services of environmental sanitation; Health education and good food hygiene are equally important (Ekong 2015). Environmental Sanitation is defined as the principles and practice of effecting healthful and hygienic conditions in the environment to promote public health and welfare, improve quality of life and ensure a sustainable environment. Poor sanitary conditions of our environment provide a good breeding ground for disease causing organisms (pathogens). This situation leads to the spread of disease especially in tropical areas like Nigeria. Some of the tropical diseases that have become difficult to control due to filthy conditions of our environment are malaria, cholera, diarrhea, ascaris, lower respiratory infections and unintentional injuries. In some adults and children under the age of five, one third of all disease is caused by the environmental factors such as unsafe water and air pollution, (WHO 2012). In Nigeria, environmental sanitation is an often misconstrued subject matter. It is usually understood as an exercise rather than a practice, Daramola, (2015). Environmental conditions in many areas threaten to reverse the gains made in public health over the last several decades” Every human should have a healthy and productive life in harmony with nature, (Ayres 2000). According to national environmental standards and regulations enforcement agency (2011), Inappropriate and inadequate regulations for the protection of our environment constitute a major challenge to socio-economic development. NESREA has developed the twenty four (24) Environmental Regulations which have been published in the Federal Republic Official Gazette and are now in force. Among The Regulations are: the National Environmental Sanitation and Wastes Control Regulations, 2009. S. I. No. 28. The purpose of this Regulation is to provide the legal framework for the adoption of sustainable and environment friendly practices in environmental sanitation and waste management to minimize pollution. Most public health problems are as a result of environmental sanitation problems such as poor housing condition, inadequate sanitation, insufficient or contaminated water, and smoky cooking fuels (basher 2002).
All over the world, poor environmental quality is increasingly recognized as a major threat to social and economic development and even to human survival (Acheampong, 2010). The impacts of environmental deterioration are severe on developing countries thus hindering and undermining their development (Bello, 2007). The world Health Organization (WHO) (2008) defined environmental sanitation as the control of all those factors in man’s physical environment, which exercise or may exercise a deleterious effect on his physical development, health and survival. It also emphasized that sanitation is a means of collecting and disposing excreta and community liquids, waste in a hygienic way. So as not to endanger the health and welfare and also for the social and environmental effects, it may have on people; people have been suffering from one disease to another without knowing the problems of their illness, the situation and due to distress or dirty environment. Cleanliness is next to Godliness.
Similarly, Iheke (2010) sees sanitation as the process of keeping places clean and hygienic especially by providing a sewage system and a clean water supply. Sanitation refers to all conditions that affects the health of people in a geographical area. Billions of people still live without access to sanitation facilities and are unable to practice such basic hygienic as washing their hands with soap and water.
In the view of Vivienne (2014), environmental sanitation is the practice of collection, reuse and disposal of human excreta and domestic wastes with the overall objective to protect the school health. In an attempt to keep the environment clean, it is the human lives that are paramount. The concept of environmental sanitation entails the control of water supplies, excreta disposal, waste water disposal, refuse disposal, vectors of diseases, housing conditions, food supplies and the safety of the working environment (Acheampong, 2010). Mmom and Mmom (2011) opined that effective environmental sanitation in cities is a function of positive environmental behavior and availability of facilities and services. Thus, Daramola (2015), Olowoporoku (2014) and Afon and Faniran (2013) complimented that availability of adequate environmental sanitation facilities and enabling environmental sanitation policies positively influence the achievement of a healthy living environment.
According to Tecer (2007), environmental deterioration, extinction, or pollution in many vital earth systems such as air, water, soil, forest and biological diversity have required countries to develop policies for protecting and developing the earth and promoting global cooperation on these issues. Atasoy (2005) stated that environmental problems have become globalized and have reached the stage where they present a threat to life on earth. He further stated that the situation has led to the review of people’s relationship with nature, their attitudes and behaviors towards the environment, the duties and responsibilities assumed by the individual towards nature, and the redefinition of ecological culture and environmental awareness.
Disease related to poor sanitation and water availability cause many people to die of sickness like cholera, diarrhea, malaria, typhoid, which damages the body tissues. Children are most vulnerable to health hazards and consequently are affected the most. In 1998, 2.2 million people died because of poor sanitation, which the vast majority were children.
1.2. Statement of the Problem
The negative perception of people towards the environment has been aggravated by increase in population of individuals (Mensah, 2011). According to him, overpopulation is accompanied by an unclean environment and negative behaviours and attitudes of the people towards sanitation of the environment. A cursory observation in schools such as universities and secondary schools showed that many places are littered with water sachets, pieces of paper, plastics of different types and broken furniture. In hostels, there are problems of littering, exposure to used sanitary pads, students urinating around the hostels, students defecating in polythene bags. This poor state of sanitary conditions affects the health of both adult and children alike. Management of solid waste materials and substances like pieces of paper, pack from wrappings, tins, wood, littering the environment is a problem. Where attempts are made to sweep, heaps of refuse are uncontrollably dumped haphazardly and mixed up together unsorted with both degradable and non-degradable materials which mix up and causing mind blighting stench, harboring mosquitoes and pests such as rats, cockroaches and eyesores (Vivienne, 2014). There have been several interventions by the government to reduce the rate of insanitary conditions in Riyom LGA, yet individuals’ perception of waste disposal has not changed. If appropriate efforts are not made to halt the practices, they will continue to spend the greater part of its monetary resources in an attempt to ensure good environmental sanitation without success (Vivienne, 2014). The above problem makes it clear that some communities are unable to cope with the problem of environmental sanitation. On the bases of the above problems, there is need to review attitudes and behaviours of people towards monthly environmental sanitation in Riyom Local Government Area of Plateau State.
1.3. Purpose of the Study
The main purpose of this study is to investigate the attitudes and behaviours of the populace towards monthly environmental sanitation in Riyom Local Government Area of Plateau State.
Other specific objectives include:
1. To determine if the people have negative attitudes and behaviours towards monthly environmental sanitation.
2. To evaluate the causes of negative attitudes and behaviours towards monthly environmental sanitation.
3. To find out whether the people have positive attitudes and behaviours towards monthly environmental sanitation.
4. To suggest possible ways of motivating people to develop positive attitudes and behaviours towards monthly environmental sanitation.
1.4. Research Questions
In order to have a guide for the research, the researcher has formulated the following research questions, which will be answered by the end of the research:
1. Do the people have negative attitudes and behaviours towards monthly environmental sanitation?
2. What are the causes of negative attitudes and behaviours towards monthly environmental sanitation?
3. Do the people have positive attitudes and behaviours towards monthly environmental sanitation?
4. What are the possible ways of motivating people to develop positive attitudes and behaviours towards monthly environmental sanitation.
1.5. Research Hypotheses
H0: There is no significant relationship between attitudes/behaviours and monthly environmental sanitation.
Ha: There is a significant relationship between attitudes/behaviours and monthly environmental sanitation
1.6. Significance of the Study
The benefit of this study cannot be overemphasized, especially now that the society is bedeviled with a lot of diseases which are often caused by unclean environment. Therefore, this study shall be beneficial to ministry of health, the individuals, parents, teachers, students and government as well.
To the ministry of health, they will organize campaign awareness on the dangers of dirty environment and therefore inculcate positive behaviours and attitudes on monthly environmental sanitation.
The layman on the street will come to understand that “health is wealth” and in the light of this, they will keep the environment clean to avoid diseases.
The teachers will get to teach the students the importance of having positive behaviours and attitudes towards monthly environmental sanitation. This will enable them to cultivate a habit of keeping their environment clean.
The parents as the foundation builders of their children, will learn to encourage them on the importance of cleanliness and therefore inculcate in them the positive attitudes and behaviours towards monthly environmental sanitation.
1.7. Scope/Delimitation of the Study
The study covers the attitudes and behaviours towards monthly environmental sanitation. It shall be limited to the populace or people of Riyom Local Government Area of Plateau State. However, despite the fact that the study is limited to the selected local government, its findings will be generic – it can be generalized to other parts of the country as well.


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