This study is aimed at assessing the health and safety status of open dump sites. The sample for the study was determined by adopting the Krejcie and Morgan table for sample size determination. The accidental sampling technique was adopted in selecting the sampled respondents. Questionnaire and few oral interviews were used in sourcing for the information. The collected data was analysed using the Statistical Package of Social Science. Results show that 75% of the scavengers joint the profession for economic reasons. Investigations revealed that majority of the materials recovered by scavengers were approximately 52% metals and iron, 39% plastics/rubber, 2% glass bottles and 7% others such as old car batteries, papers/cartons, wood among others. Analysis shows that about 92% of the scavengers worked for more than 5 hours, between the periods of 7am to 5pm thereby exposing them for longer periods to certain levels of health hazards from the waste dumps irrespective of their age. A greater percentage of the health problems listed below could be attributed to habits such as eating, smoking, drinking and general personal hygiene. During the course of this work it was observed that none of the respondents go for medical checkup. One of the most effective ways to protect others and ourselves is through personal hygiene. This study revealed that among scavengers interviewed approximately only 12% of respondent take their bath daily, 48% bath 3 times a week, 30% bath only twice a week. This means that at least 78% bath at least once a week while the remaining 10% say they manage to bath once a month. Occupational history provides evidences of exposure to various health risks since the number of years may be associated with the level and magnitude of exposure. It is therefore safe to assume that the duration of work in an unhealthy environment contributes greatly to how much a person’s health is at risk. Analysis results revealed that that 89.1% of the respondents have been scavenging for (5-10) hrs per day. Over 93% of the respondents do not have conventional accommodation. The wastes generated in the study area are disposed off without being sorted at source. The Scavengers work without the use of PPE’s hence is exposed to various health risks. Most of them interviewed showed significant differences in the health status before joining the profession. Analysis shows that they hardly go for medical checkups but rather engaged on self medication. The long-term implication of the scavengers being exposed to these health risks do not affects them only but also their immediate family and the community in general. Government presence is not felt in the activities of these scavengers, it is therefore recommended that the Government should consider intervening in the activities of these scavengers through formal registration and inculcating them in the waste management program, as they are critical in waste recycling aspect.
Key Words: Occupation, Waste, Scavenging, Scavengers, Health risk, Dumpsite