Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Human Resource Education and Workforce Development

First Advisor

Satish Verma


The primary purpose of this study was to determine opinions of public officials and the general public concerning solid waste disposal, and to make recommendations for future Extension programming. The study utilized four focus group interviews to obtain qualitative data. The two urban groups were composed of municipal public officials from the parishes of Jefferson, East Baton Rouge, Lafayette and Rapides and general public participants from the parishes of East Baton Rouge, West Baton Rouge, and Livingston. The two rural groups consisted of public officials from the parishes of Acadia, Jefferson Davis and Vermilion and general public participants from the parishes of Acadia and Vermilion. Conclusions of the study were: (a) Cost of solid waste collection, disposal and transportation exceed existing revenues. Recent government regulations have decreased the number of landfills causing the cost of disposal to increase. Recycling and other disposal alternatives have not yet proven to be cost effective. Taxpayers and local government officials resist any new taxes and fees for solid waste disposal. (b) Public perception is considered important when dealing with solid waste issues. Air and water contamination, especially drinking water, are considered possible health and environmental threats from solid waste disposal. Disposal of household hazardous waste is the main health concern. (c) Education and dissemination of information are methods to provide the public with factual information on solid waste disposal. Public attitudes and perceptions are sometimes the direct result of the public's knowledge of solid waste issues. Based on these conclusions the following recommendations were made by the researcher for future Extension programming. (1) Develop publications for public officials and the general public on cost, health, safety and environmental issues for all solid waste disposal options. (2) Develop programming in the areas of proper disposal methods for household hazardous waste; market development for recyclable materials; economics of recycling, composting, and landfilling; health, safety and environmental concerns; beneficial use of compost and reusable solid waste; proper operation of a recycling program; "Don't Litter" program; integrated solid waste program. (3) Through LCES staff development training, equip agents with a better understanding of solid waste issues.