Waste management awareness in Nairobi: the case of "Jua kali" metal workers in Nairobi's Kamukunji area.
Kaur, Mangat R
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This research looks at the case of the metal workers in Kamukunji "Jua Kali" industry in Nairobi in order to assess their level of awareness about waste management in order to develop appropriate waste management awareness and literature, which may assist in developing solutions to the perennial problem of waste management. The study focuses on Kamukunji Jua Kali, where there are approximately 4000 artisans working on 1.5 hectares of land, an indication of severe overcrowding and lack of planning, including waste management. Data on the residents' perception regarding waste management was obtained from 200 respondents through a random sampling technique. The respondents constitute artisans who were mostly male adults with age distribution ranging between 18 and 55 years. The research reveals that there is need for serious public awareness campaigns regarding waste management. Interviews with officials involved in waste management, shows that there is lack of public awareness which may be attributed to a number of reasons, such as Kamukunji Jua Kali operating outside the formal economy and regulations; few incentives on waste management education, poor enforcement, vague laws and weak infrastructure with little public/private sector partnership. This research concludes that there is need for future researches to identify the environmental (e.g., attitude toward the environment), situational (e.g., individual knowledge and experience), and psychological (e.g., personality characteristics, perceptions) factors that affect their waste management intentions and behaviors in order to develop waste management awareness material on the dangers of metal waste on the health of humans and the environment and for effective waste management policies, regulations and by-laws. There is also need for research in product development such as exploring alternative metals instead of using aluminium for cooking pots and pans because aluminium has been proved to have toxic effects on health. A properly designed public awareness exercise can have far reaching results in increasing knowledge for affirmative action and seeking appropriate solutions to managing waste on a national level. Waste is simply not waste as research shows; it is a valuable resource if managed appropriately and can contribute towards improving the Gross National Product.