THE STUDY INVESTIGATES SOCIAL PERCEPTION OF TRICYCLES RESTRICTION AND WASTE MANAGEMENT STRATEGIES IN ENHANCING ENVIRONMENTAL AESTHETICS AND PSYCHOLOGICAL WELLBEING OF RESIDENTS
1.1 Background of the study
The progressive deterioration suffered by our physical environments has given rise, over the last years, to a political-social sensitization, focused on the need to increase and guarantee the protection of areas of great aesthetic value. Thus in recent years, several governments have tapped into this ideology by restricting some operation from such reserved environment to improve its aesthetics. The Webster dictionary, (2016) defines an Environment as the air, water, minerals, organism and other external condition that surrounds someone or something; the condition that influences and affect the growth, health, progress of someone or something. On the other hand, aesthetics is concern with the science of emotions in relation to the sense of beauty(The American Heritage, 2016). Environmental aesthetics originated as a reaction to this emphasis, pursuing instead the investigation of the aesthetic appreciation of natural environments. Since its early stages, the scope of environmental aesthetics has broadened to include not simply natural environments but also human and human-influenced ones. At the same time, the discipline has also come to include the examination of that which falls within such environments, giving rise to what is called the aesthetics of everyday life art (Morgan, &Bath, 1998).This area involves the aesthetics of not only more common objects and environments, but also a range of everyday activities. Thus, early in the twenty-first century, environmental aesthetics embraces the study of the aesthetic significance of almost everything other than art (Morgan, & Bath, 1998).
Environmental aesthetics, emerged in the late 1960s and has steadily grown in importance since then. Although discussions of the aesthetics of nature have had a place in philosophy for a much longer time, twentieth-century environmental movements provided the context and conditions within which the discipline of aesthetics began to recognize problems connected to the aesthetic value of the environment and its role in weighing environmental issues and psychological well-being art (Morgan, & Bath, 1998).
Environmental aesthetics brings psychological attention to issues in aesthetics as they relate to environments, natural objects within environments, and natural phenomena and processes (as opposed to artworks) (Gilboa, & Rafaeli, 2010). The field has attended mainly to natural environments, but its scope has gradually widened to include mixed environments: those that have been modified or influenced by humans, such as gardens, as well as the human environments of everyday life, such as aspects of the built environment(Gilboa, & Rafaeli, 2010).The study of Environmental aesthetics, is motivated in part by public concern for the aesthetic condition of everyday environments and has broadened beyond mere traditional aesthetics in two respects. First, environmental aesthetics, unlike typical traditional aesthetics, incorporates various kinds of empirical work done on the human aesthetic experience of environments. There are a number of different orientations in this kind of research. For example, one movement grew out of the environmental design and planning disciplines, such as landscape architecture, and attempts to analyse and assess aesthetic experience in terms of the design features recognized and valued by these disciplines. Another kind of empirical work is more closely aligned with resource and recreational management and focuses on measuring aesthetic preferences of different individuals for different environments. In addition, there are also attempts to provide what are essentially sociobiological underpinnings for the appreciation of environments as well as attempts to apply to such appreciation a wide range of models of aesthetic experience grounded in, for instance, developmental and environmental psychology. Moreover, there are different kinds of attempts to link this empirical work with the philosophical side of environmental aesthetics(Gilboa, & Rafaeli, 2010).
The second broadening of the scope of environmental aesthetics concerns its subject matter and may be charted on three scales. On the first, the objects of appreciation of environmental aesthetics extend from pristine natural environments to the very limits of traditional works of art, and by some accounts include even some of the latter. Many typical objects treated by environmental aesthetics are rather large environments: mountain ranges, countrysides, market places. But the field also considers smaller and more intimate environments, such as backyards, offices, living rooms, as well as the objects, both large and small, that populate various environments. Just as environmental aesthetics is not limited to the large, nor is it limited to the spectacular. Ordinary scenery, commonplace sights, and our day-to-day environments are proper objects of aesthetic appreciation. Environmental aesthetics is essentially the aesthetics of everyday life (Gilboa, & Rafaeli, 2010).
Prior to the advancement of science and technology, our air was fresh, and wholesome. Expansion in the economic sector one of which is the introduction of auto mobiles into the society brought along with it advantages and disadvantages such as air pollution, noise pollution and so on. Alongside with other social problems which has through the years has a telling effect on the psychological wellbeing of human being within such environments.There is growing interest in psychological or subjective well-being as an indicator of societal progress among policymakers both nationally and internationally (Dolan, Layard and Metcalfe, 2011).
Psychological well-being is about lives going well. It is the combination of feeling good and functioning effectively. Sustainable well-being does not require individuals to feel good all the time; the experience of painful emotions (e.g. disappointment, failure, grief) is a normal part of life, and being able to manage these negative or painful emotions is essential for long-term well-being. Psychological well-being is, however, compromised when negative emotions are extreme or very long lasting and interfere with a person’s ability to function in his or her daily life. The concept of feeling good incorporates not only the positive emotions of happiness and contentment, but also such emotions as interest, engagement, conﬁdence, and affection. The concept of functioning effectively (in a psychological sense) involves the development of one’s potential, having some control over one’s life, having a sense of purpose (e.g. working towards valued goals), and experiencing positive relationships (Gilboa, & Rafaeli, 2010).
According to the most recent available national survey, 16.4 per cent of the UK population has some form of mental health problem (Singleton et al., 2001). In Nigeria, the prevalence of mental illness is reported at 20% (Shekhar, Gureje, 2006). But what percentage are mentally ﬂourishing -that is enjoying a high level of psychological well-being? According to Keyes (2002), ﬂourishing individuals have enthusiasm for life and are actively and productively engaged with others and in social institutions. Data from the US suggest that only around 17 per cent of adults are ﬂourishing, while 11 per cent are languishing (Keyes, 2002). The term languishing refers to a condition in which a person’s life seems empty or stagnant, a life of quiet despair, although they do not have mental illness (Keyes, 2002). Keyes (2004) has shown that “languishers” are at greatly increased risk of depression and physical disorders including cardiovascular disease. He has suggested that languishing may be highly prevalent among young people, many of whom are seeking ways to ﬁll the void of their lives. Sex, drugs, and alcohol are often used in this way, but these only deepen the void and make the person more dysfunctional. There are no data at present on the prevalence of ﬂourishing or languishing.
Types of psychological wellbeing includes: evaluative well-being (that is, general satisfaction with life), affective or hedonic well-being (that is, enjoyment, positive affect and depressive symptoms) and eudaimonic well-being (that is, purpose in life, self-acceptance and control)(Steptoe, & Demakakos, 2011). Research has shown that Psychological well-being had a curvilinear relationship with age, being higher in respondents aged 60–69 and 70–79 than it was in older or younger participants. A similar pattern has been reported before in high income countries. There is a pronounced socio-economic gradient in psychological wellbeing, with greater well-being in more affluent sectors of the population. The effects are stronger for evaluative and eudaimonic aspects of wellbeing than for measures of positive affect and enjoyment of life. Both paid employment and volunteering were associated with greater psychological well-being(Steptoe, &Demakakos, 2011). Higher psychological wellbeing is also associated with being married (as opposed to never married, divorced/separated or widowed), being physically active, not smoking and better cognitive function. There are strong cross-sectional associations between psychological well-being and health, particularly in relation to chronic illness and disability, albeit with variations across different aspects of well-being. There has been a small but consistent deterioration in affective wellbeing between 2002–03 and 2010–11 in ELSA, with similar patterns in different age groups. Life satisfaction has not shown comparable trends over this period (Steptoe, & Demakakos, 2011).
Psychological well-being refers to how people evaluate their lives. According to Diener (1997), these evaluations may be in the form of cognitions or in the form of affect. The cognitive part is an information based appraisal of one’s life that is when a person gives conscious evaluative judgments about one’s satisfaction with life as a whole. The affective part is a hedonic evaluation guided by emotions and feelings such as frequency with which people experience pleasant/unpleasant moods in reaction to their lives. The assumption behind this is that most people evaluate their life as either good or bad, so they are normally able to offer judgments. Further, people invariably experience moods and emotions, which have a positive effect or a negative effect. Thus, people have a level of subjective well-being even if they do not often consciously think about it, and the psychological system offers virtually a constant evaluation of what is happening to the person.Current social indicators can capture phenomena such as crime, divorce, environmental problems, infant mortality, gender equality, etc. Thus, they can capture aspects of quality of life that add to the description drawn by economic indicators. However, these social indicators fail to capture the subjective well-being of people because they do not reflect the actual experiences such as the quality of relationships, the regulation of their emotions and whether feelings of isolation and depression pervade in their daily life. On the other hand, the physical environment has a telling impact on the psychological wellbeing (klitzman, 1989).klitzman,(1989), found out that environmental conditions such as poor air quality, noise, ergonomic conditions, lack of privacy, may affect workers mental health. Our growing populations has significantly increase these negative environmental conditions as our air is constantly polluted with the increasing number of vehicles most especially the commercial tricycle (keke). Although the introduction of this form of transportation has been cost effective as it flexible nature guarantee its ability to access all forms of road network. However, the presence of these tricycles has also constituted a menace to the society in various ways. Other than noise and the environmental pollutions, most of the drivers of this tricycles were not trained on it proper use leading to various forms of road accident and chaos. Although compared to motorcycle, tricycles are safer and more reliable.
The diffusion of tricycle brands in the Nigerian market can be attributed to the Federal Government’s initiative in 2002 to ease transportation problems and create avenue for self-employment for the unemployed and the jobless (Sun, 2009). However, some states in Nigeria have decided not to adopt the tricycle (Edike, 2009) while some states have wholeheartedly adopted its use (Imo, 2009). This commercial tricycle scheme is popularly known as “KEKE NAPEP”. Keke is a native word for tricycle while NAPEP is an acronym for National Poverty Eradication Programme (Josiah, 2008). It is noteworthy to mention that majority of commuters use buses, tricycles and motorcycles for movement while some use the taxis. The increase in urban population, particularly those residing in smaller settlements away from city centers is the primary reason why there is demand of the services of motorcycles and tricycles. Some passengers however prefer the tricycle to motorcycle as a result of its relative affordability, availability and safety (Sun, 2009). In most cities in Nigeria, it is such that the city centre is congested with business premises while the fringes are occupied by low and medium income earners. Faced with this, commuters are forced to make longer trips on vehicles and trek longer distance of a consecutive estimate of two trips per person. With the above, it is clear that there is impending mobility crisis arising from demand/supply gap. The emergence of various modes of transportation gave rise to tricycles especially in view of its flexibility and the need to cope with socio-economic trends. Most tricycle brands in Nigeria are motorcycles with sidecars, which have the legal capacity of 4 passengers including the driver. Tricycles are a popular mode of public transportation among commuters due to their high accessibility, availability, affordability, and convenience. Being much less expensive in fares than other vehicles, they play an important role in Nigeria’s overall transportation system. Tricycles are the most convenient transportation in rural areas especially from the central town to the villages. Within big cities, they are usually located in smaller roads, lanes and alleys where other public transportation do not or cannot operate. Despite the need to popularize the tricycles over the motorcycles, which are characterized by fatal crashes and other forms of vulnerabilities, these three wheel – vehicle poses environmental and social challenges such as fine particles emission, noise, absence of paved roads, lack of parks and terminals on designated routes for hitch-free conveyance of passengers, Lack of waste baskets leading to passengers throwing wastes rampantly on the streets. These challenges, however, do not only affect the environmental aesthetic but also may influence the psychological wellbeing of the masses.
Waste management is another factor that contributes to the environmental aesthetics and the psychological wellbeing of the people.Waste has been defined as something that is not or no longer useful and is to be thrown away or disposed of (Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, 2010). Again it has been defined as any material lacking direct value to the producer and so must be disposed of (Ita, 2005). The generation and disposal of waste is an intrinsic part of any developing or industrial society. The defective strategies and arrangements adopted for solid waste management in Nigerian cities create the erroneous impression that urban waste management problems are intractable. This sterns from the fact that the rate of collection and evacuation perpetually lag behind the rate of generation which makes waste accumulation a major source of environmental nuisance in Nigerian cities. Waste management therefore, concerns the interplay among generation, storage, collection and final disposal (Omuta, 1988). Sada (1984) has observed that in 1980, on the average, a balance of 100 metric tons of solid waste are piled up daily. Waste, both from domestic and commercial sources has grown significantly in Nigeria over the past decade. Every time a householder shops at the store, and open market he contributes to the mountain of waste. It is possible to quote figures which show that the production of waste amounts to millions of tons. The percentage of Nigeria’s population living in cities and urban areas has more than doubled in the last 15 years(Jimoh, 2005). The cities and urban areas experience continuous growth which contributes to enormous in generation of solid and liquid waste. The management of waste is a matter of national and international concern. The volume of waste does not actually constitute the problem but the ability or inability of governments, individuals and waste disposal firms to keep up with the task of managing waste and the environment. There is no doubt that a dirty environment affects the standard of living, aesthetic sensibilities, health of the people and thus the quality of their lives (Mowoe, 1990). The corollary is that improper disposal or storage of this waste can constitute hazards to the society through the pollution of air, land and especially water (Mowoe, 1990). Thus, this research seeks to investigate the perception of vehicular (keke-Napep)restriction and waste management strategies in enhancing environmental aesthetic and psychological wellbeing in Uyo.
Statement of the problem
The population of Uyo the capital of Akwa Ibom state has been on the increase in resent. The city is fast turning into an overpopulated one. As the population increase, the waste management problems also increases. Waste management is by nature both capital and economic intensive. This requires huge capital outlay. Many state governments spend a good percentage of their funds on domestic waste management. For examples Lagos State Government spends between 20 – 25% of its funds on waste management. But what this amount could accomplish is dwarfed by the population it caters for. The inability to properly manage the waste generated daily does not only affect the beauty of the environment but may also affect the health and psychological wellbeing of the people. The problem of overpopulation has been compounded by the multiplication of tricycles which sometimes makes movement very slow within the city. Although the recent restriction of tricycle from some part of Uyo has reduced the traffic congestions as well as improving the environmental aesthetics,however, most people are forced to take a long work before they can meet up with their day’s plans. Other than the stress, the area where these tricycles are allowed are often time congested, polluted with both noise and exhaust fume, these pollutions affects the psychological wellbeing of the people. Psychological well-being predicts the onset of disability, slower walking speed, impaired self-rated health and the incidence of coronary heart disease. These findings concerning the development of poor health and mortality suggest that measuring psychological well-being alongside with the environment aesthetics may help identify individuals at risk of future health problems and functional impairment. Thus this research seeks to investigate the perception of vehicular (Keke-NAPEP) restriction and waste management strategies in enhancing environmental aesthetics and psychological wellbeing in Uyo metropolis. The following research questions will be tested:
- Will waste management strategy influence environmental aesthetics and psychological wellbeing?
- Will tricycle restriction influence environmental aesthetics and psychological wellbeing?
Purpose of the study
The purpose of this study is to examine the social perception of vehicular (keke-NAPEP) restriction and waste management strategies in enhancing environmental aesthetics and psychological wellbeing in Uyo.
Significance of the study
The findings of this study will be of benefit to policy makers, and the community at large in the following ways;
- It would help policy makers to create laws that will enhance the environmental aesthetics and psychological wellbeing of the masses.
- It will help the citizen to understand the need to properly manage our waste product in other to maintain a good psychological wellbeing.
- It will also encourage researchers to carry out research on environmental aesthetics and psychological wellbeing.
- It will also contribute to existing literature on the subject matter.