Abstract Indiscriminate disposal of municipal solid waste in developing countries poses severe environmental and health threats. The study proposes a new method for dealing with these problems. The hybrid structural interaction matrix (HSIM) was used to prioritise major identifiable environmental health factors arising from improper solid waste disposal. The simplistic resource allocation model was adopted to ensure optimality in the allocation of resources to prioritised factors. The study indicates that tackling environmental health impacts from the most prioritised negative disposal factors through optimal allocation of resources, will either reduce or eliminate the impacts associated with subsequent less prioritised factors that are direct consequences of the highly prioritised negative factors. The method proposed will aid decision makers in knowing which set of systemic factors are to be given preference and to what extent at given periods in time.