Scavenging Birds on Solid Waste Dumps: A Significant Health-threat to City Inhabitants in Limbe, Southwest Region, Cameroon (Published)
Over the past decade, the need for better waste management has become more obvious with the increase in human population growth. Feeding is an essential activity of bird’s life which is indispensable for its survival, however, the demands of food acquisition impose significant challenges to both physiology and behavior of birds. This survey was aimed at examining the activity of wild birds on waste dumps in Limbe city. The data collection process started in the month of March and ended in July. The research area was divided into four zones, north, south, east, and western zone. Four solid-dumps were randomly selected from each zone and were visited twice a week for research data collection. On the dumps, observations were done from 6:00am – 6:00pm, and the activities of all the bird species observed were recorded during the period. The results of this study has shown a significant association between bird species, activity, dump-weight, and the waste proximity to human residence, X2 = 24.205 df=14, P=0.043, X2 =. 43.999 df=35, p<0.05, and r = 0.253, P=0.000 respectively. Also, the study showed that the activity profile of Passer griseus (27%) and Ploceus cucullatus (49%) were higher as compared to Ploceus luteolus (4%), Lanius collaries (5%), Corvus albus 8%), Bubulcus ibis (5%), and Pycnonotus barbatus (2%) respectively. Additionally, the birds’ activity recorded a weak association on dump-weight and dump distance to human homes, X2 = 8.343 df=10, P<0.05, and X2 = 4.851 df=8, P<0.05 respectively. The undulating landscape in Limbe municipality showed a dependency on dump-weight and dump distance from homes, X2 = 128.020 df=10, P=0.000, and r = 0.226, P=0.001 respectively. Also, the dumps with a home-proximity of 1m-20m were the most recorded in flat landscape areas, and most of the waste on these dumps were estimated to have a weight range of 1kg-200kgs (48%), 201kg-400kgs (27%), 401kg-600kgs (16%), and 601kg-800kgs (9%) respectively. Poor waste disposal system has been the main reason behind flood hazards in this sea-shore city, a phenomenon that has witnessed the destruction of both human lives and properties in the past. The city needs a modern waste management system to prevent or reduce the population of birds visiting the dump-sites which would often serve as vectors in cycling pathogens to humans from these dumps.
Solid waste management has become one of the most crucial issues facing authorities in the fast-growing cities in developing countries. However, rubbish dumps constitute appropriate feeding sites for many bird species, serving as stop over sites and a source of food for many species of birds, especially in those altered or heavily human transformed areas. The study of bird urban ecology has recently grown as a research area, because urban environments can, like nature reserves, help to preserve bird species. The main objective of this study was to examine the feeding activity of wild birds on solid-dumps in Limbe municipality. The research area was divided into four zones, north, south, east, and western zone. Four dump-sites were randomly selected from each zone and were visited twice a week for research data collection. Observations were done on the dumps from 6:00am – 6:00pm, and the activities of all the birds were recorded during this period. More so, the ecological conditions like weather type, photo-period, weight estimate of dumps, proximity of dump to residential homes, major dump materials, and the land scape were recorded. This study observed that the activity of Passer griseus (27%) and Ploceus cucullatus (49%) were higher as compared to Ploceus luteolus (4%), Lanius collaries (5%), Corvus albus 8%), Bubulcus ibis (5%), and Pycnonotus barbatus (2%) respectively. Moreover, the study revealed a significance between bird feeding activity on waste type, photo-period, and weather condition, r = 0.170 P=0.013, r = 0.146 P=0.034, and X2 = 6.343 df=4 P<0.05 respectively. Additionally, the major solid waste materials on the dump-sites were household waste (68%), market waste (29%), medical waste (2%), and office waste (1%). The implication of birds in recycling tropical pathogens such as salmonella species and related micro-organisms has been documented in many countries, hence, proper waste management strategies needs to be implemented by the authorities to reduce the activity of birds and other vectors.