Factors promoting hygiene and sanitation and challenges that are faced by HYSACAM
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- Background of the Study
Hygiene and sanitation entails clean and health environments which are the most important factors that helps to define the quality of life any country in the world are striving to achieve, most especially in developing countries where they are faced with inadequate, accessible and acceptable basic sanitation, clean and healthy environment have not been a good product of quality life (HWO, 2004). Around 2.3 billion people lack access to basic hygiene, which includes access to hand washing station with soap and water at home, or work sites of public places after carrying out different human and environmental activities that me leads to handling of wastes. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2018 (CDC)
Poor access to hygiene and sanitation services are fast-growing problems in urban population particular to less developed countries like Cameroon. The problem turns to be acute in small town facing rapid urbanization where, access to hygiene and sanitation facilities is inadequate. The use of toilets, the control of population, and disease related fecal contamination of water sources and waste disposal practices (The America Journal of Tropical Medicine and hygiene 2021).
The access to clean water and adequate sanitation is essential for a decent human life and moreover it is recognized as a right of all people by the United Nations General Assembly and the UN Human Right Council (Hutton, 2012). And until 2015 where the United Nations General Assembly modified this right to Ensure availability and sustainable management of water for all which is one of the Sustainable Development Goals for 2030; Goal No. 6 ‘Clean water and sanitation’ (United Nations 2015). Inadequate water, sanitation and hygiene services have increase the risk of disease spread like typhoid, malaria, cholera which are pressing issues that are threatening human life in low in some countries as compare to high income countries where there are sufficient facilities to maintain hygiene and sanitation. In March, 2022, 29 people died of cholera in three major towns of Cameroon resulting from contamination of drinking water due to poor hygiene and sanitation services of the communities and over 300 cases of cholera were identified; 43 cases and 20 deaths in Kumba, 111 cases and 5 death in Buea, 122 cases in Limbe (AFRICNEWS.COM). According to World Health Organization (HWO), improvement in water, hygiene and sanitation (WASH) could result in a global disease burden reduction of as much as 10% (WHO, 2019)
Contamination of ground water source is as a result of littering of wastes most especially in the Cities of Cameroon like Buea which are generated by the fast growing populations, consumption amongst different groups and increase commercial activities, the presence of people from different cultural background with poor knowledge of personal hygiene contributes to the poor management and disposal of waste. Buea being one of the rising cities in Cameroon faced challenges of hygiene and sanitation where 60% of the total Buea population is made of youths seeking for education and jobs. Their economic and social activities affect the hygiene and sanitation nature of Buea due to daily increase of waste generated with limited waste management companies. The diversity of the population in Buea makes it difficult to follow some particular cultural practices in managing of their household waste which leads to improper disposal and may subsequently give rise to environmental hazards. In Buea Municipality there are many different sources of waste but management companies of the different type of wastes are limited only to solid waste management and soil water contamination may occur from improper management of these waste causing spread of pathogens (Corrêa and Int. Res. J. Public Environ. Healt, 2000; Oudnid M-ra et al., 2017; Khan et al., 2020).
Improper disposal at dumping sites creates breeding ground for vectors and server as a risky area for air-born and water-borne diseases standing as a health threat to humans and animals life if not treated and managed effectively. According to the bureau of sanitation in Cameroon, councils have the duty of organizing hygiene, health and sanitation campaigns in their communities. They are also responsible for setting up the communities for inspection of the hygiene and sanitation practices of their communities. Many councils finds it difficult to implement the activities because there were no working document guiding the practice of hygiene and sanitation in municipal council of Buea. The intervention of Local Council Capacity Initiatives and community based hygiene and sanitation known as ‘Clean Water and Sanitation Africa’ (CWASAF) was created to create awareness through health education on hygiene and sanitation, waste management and environmental sustainability and to collaborates with government, individuals and associations to supply sustainable water, enhancing proper garbage management and recycling (Bate, 2020). Most of the municipal solid wastes were manage through burning, some buried until when the quantity of waste was fast increasing when the CWASAF can no longer manage the waste which leads to a great nuisance of the city and was in need of more collaborators to maintain hygiene and sanitation in the Buea Municipality. It was in this context that HYSACAM (Hygiene and Sanitation in Cameroon), a French private company was born in 1969, which was then responsible for ensuring control of the hygiene and sanitation of Buea Municipality in 2010 by a contract sign by the Mayor. The company main development role in Buea Municipality was to provide service essential to hygiene and sanitation, its harmonious development through: cleanliness where the company will succeed in going beyond summary methods of garbage collection and treatment and establish a solid reputation. It is built around its working methods, staff and equipment: dumpsters for door-to-door collection roll amplifier for fixed point collection for collecting wastes from households within the cities, transporting them to their treatment and processing sites (www.hysacam-proprete.com).
The infancy of literature on local cases makes it inadequate for proper functioning of waste management. In regards of this, in regards to good hygiene and sanitation practices, waste management in Buea is inefficient in hazard minimization because sustained efforts have not been developed in the domain of waste education, collection, transportation, treatment and final disposal and not all waste are being managed by the waste management by the council (Manga et al, 2007, Project-house.net)
HYSACAM took up waste management in the South west Region capital of Buea in 2010. The waste company stepped at a time where the collection and disposal of household waste by the Council had become onerous owing to the ever growing population. With the company’s technical leave, the Council and environmental management stakeholders, now have daunting task of fine-turning alternative waste management strategies for the Municipality (B. Shancho Ndimuh, 2010). The Buea Municipality start the hygiene and sanitation of their city after a presentation of the strategic plan to keep the municipality clean and healthy by the manager of HYSACAM by signing a 5 years’ contract where the map of the Municipality was given to them and the disposal site located at Mussaka where the solid waste collected could be dispose and treated. HYSACAM on their part had to play a role of providing facilities for collecting and transporting of waste, recruiting of workers from the community to achieve their five year’s strategic plan in keeping the Buea Municipality clean and healthy (Elvis Tah, 2010). The begin of the socio-political crises in the country in 2016 also led to one of the effect of poor management of waste as the company HYSACAM was equally affected by the crises through the burring of their trucks, life threatening of some workers cause a decrease in their work force and some workers become dishonest to the work and absent making it difficult for the company to meet its targets. Since in 2020, the HYSACAM have not been able to meet the hygiene and sanitation needs of the Buea Municipality and this give more reasons to resolve all these problems by first carrying out this research to identify the different hygiene and sanitation roles put in place by HYSACAM (Bate Godwill, 2020).
It is through this research that roles of HYSACAM in hygiene and sanitation of Buea municipality was identified and the magnitude to which these roles affect hygiene and sanitation nature of the Municipality.
1.2. Statement of Problem and Justification.
1.2.1. Problem Statement
All humans produce wastes of various types as a result of their daily activities in their homes, schools, work places, hospitals, streets and public buildings places. These wastes are made of the fast degrading materials and low or non-degrading material (generally known as solid waste) whereby, proper care must be taken to control and manage them through the process of personal hygiene and sanitation from households and to community levels for improving the health benefits of the people in the communities and our environment. The solid waste arising from domestic, social and industrial activities, increasing in quality and variety as a result of growing population to meet with living standards with development of technology (Dickerson, 1999).
Developing country like Cameroon equally faced difficulties in maintaining hygiene and sanitation due to low public awareness and improper education on waste management and its divesting impact in the environment and the health of humans/other living organisms on land, air and water. Waste collection is a critical step in managing waste, yet rates vary largely by income levels with upper-middle and high-income countries providing nearly universal waste collection. Low-income countries collect about 48% of waste in cities, but this proportion drop drastically to 26% outside of urban areas. Across regions, Sub-Saharan Africa collects about 44 % of waste (World Bank of waste management, 2019). Rapid urbanization in development facing developing countries including Cameroon has come with serious environmental challenges concerning solid waste management. Uncollected solid waste can also obstruct storm water runoff, resulting in the formation of stagnant water bodies that become the breeding ground of pathogens and parasite spread (Abul, 2010).
It has been seen that dumpsites have been identified as one of the major threats to groundwater resources receiving a mixture of municipal, commercial and mixed industrial wastes. This easily leads to spread of pathogens, parasites and other toxic substances that can cause disease in human and animal systems. Studies on the effects of waste dumps on the host, soil and underlying shallow aquifers have shown that soil and groundwater systems can be polluted due to poorly designed waste disposal facilities (Amadi et al., 2012). Wastes placed in dumpsites or open dumps are subjected to either groundwater underflow or infiltration The improper management of solid waste that are faced by most cities in Cameroon affects its environment and human health through poor disposal which can leads to food, water and soil contaminations, injury from children playing or adults sorting waste in those areas with scattered waste, discriminate burning of waste as a community measures to reduce their waste can also cause major air pollution, ground water pollution from run off and increases greenhouse emission. A build-up of waste in dumping areas can also create a breeding ground of mosquitoes and rates which all cause the spread of diseases ( www.maximpactblog.com ).
The life cycle of some of these parasites indicate that they live in the soil during their development for protection until they infect their next host (Da Silva et al., 2005; Ngatou et al., 2017; Steinbaum et al., 2017). Wastes placed in dumpsites or open dumps are subjected to either groundwater underflow or infiltration from precipitation (Mor et al., 2006, Udeh and Ugwoha, 2016; Nta et al., 2020). Estimations show that 12.6 million people died in 2012 as a result of living or working in an unhealthy environment, accounting for nearly a quarter of deaths worldwide (WHO, 2017). Diarrheal diseases such as gastroenteritis cause 846,000 deaths per year (HYSACAM, 2016). Thus, many studies have shown that waste, like malaria, cholera and meningitis becomes a threat to human health and the quality of urban ecosystems (Ngambi, 2015). To better understand this, some studies have been carried out on the identification and characterization of microorganisms present in household waste, specifically on the knowledge of microorganisms present in waste, as well as the intestinal parasites and pathogenic bacterial agents in solid garbage (Adeyeba and Akinbo 2002; Idahosa et al., 2017; Amoah et al., 2018).
The problem of urban waste in the city of Buea has risen with increase in population, diversity of human activities and limited number of waste management companies gives the poor hygiene and sanitation conditions leading to breakout and spread of disease in the Buea Municipality where the number of children and youths who settle for education/work and the native inhabitants suffer from the poor hygiene and sanitation conditions as there is continuous accumulation of wastes in the town which is only manage by HYSACAM. This research seeks to find out key roles which HYSACAM use in maintaining hygiene and sanitation in order to improve those roles or strategies to better the hygiene and sanitation of the Municipality.
The problem of waste management keeps increasing as the population keep rising but the responsibility of municipal solid waste management dependently remain on the private company HYSACAM where they face a lot of challenges coming from multiple sources such as the lack of political will from the government of Cameroon to allow local councils to autonomously handle the waste management, lack of effective sustainable system and implement sound practices of sustainable waste management developed by local councils to facilitates the planning exercise of HYSACAM, lack of law put in place to ensure good sanitation and hygiene by local individuals in community households. The poor implementation of roles set by this private company HYSACAM, in ensuring proper hygiene and sanitation in the Buea Municipality has also lead to the poor and dirty nature of the city. With their basic roles of maintaining hygiene and sanitation through providing of bins at road junctions, they turn to all them for too long without carrying out a routine collection and some bins turn to be a dumping ground creating a breeding ground for pest and diseases and the waste together with the bins are later burnt by the individuals to create more space for dumping of waste. The continuous dumping and the inconsistent collection of these waste by HYSACAM as the only company in solid waste management in Buea, has been affected by the COVID 19 pandemic which hall most of the cleaning community’s activities by HYSACAM and the current Anglophone crisis create a huge destruction of HYSACAM fleets and trucks that were working at the heart of the crisis which equally limited them to some interior communities of Bomaka, Muea and Bonakanda. Hysacam become more destabilize in Buea due to the intensiveness of the crisis in city which now greets inhabitants and visitors with heaps of refuse and awful smells. In a bid to salvage this plight, individuals have resorted waste burning, dumping in people’s land and nearby streams to eliminate the accumulation of their waste. Though this waste system aids in reducing volume of waste, it releases and increases toxic substances that pollutes our air, soil, and water such as accumulation of carbon dioxide which is instrumental in propagating climate change through the destruction of ozone layer, also spills out of spoiled food and oils into water that affects water lives leading to food shortage and food insecurity (VONWebMaster, 2018).
This research aimed at finding out key roles, factors promoting hygiene and sanitation and challenges that are faced by HYSACAM in hygiene and sanitation of the municipality in order to bring up better strategies that will improve the hygiene and sanitation of the Buea Municipality.
1.3. Research Questions
- What are the key roles of HYSACAM in the hygiene and sanitation of the Buea Municipality?
- What are the factors influencing hygiene and sanitation on HYSACAM in Buea Municipality?
- What challenges are faced by HYSACAM in the hygiene and sanitation of the Buea Municipality?
1.4. Objectives of the Study
1.4.1. Main Objectives
- To evaluate the different roles by HYSACAM in the hygienic and sanitation of the Buea Municipality towards ensuring sustainable cleanliness and healthy community.
1.4.2. Specific Objectives
- To identify the key roles of HYSACAM in the hygiene and sanitation of Buea Municipality
- To find out the factors that influences hygiene and sanitation on HYSACAM in the Buea Municipality.
- To find out the challenges that is faced by HHYSACAM in the hygiene and sanitation in the Buea Municipality.