Solid waste management in Westlands region of Nairobi: issues, challenges and emerging options
Muthama, Thomson M
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Waste management connection with environmental degradation is becoming a key field of study; there have been a lot of research in recent times aimed at establishing the status of waste management, effect on environment and ways of mitigating these effects; in this region of study waste management still remains a major problem necessitating further research activities to establish means of dealing with this ever escalating problem. The study sought to establish which areas generates the most waste amongst; business, industrial and residential premises. This paper aimed to provide an overview of issues, challenges and emerging options to do with solid waste management in Nairobi, Kenya more specifically in westlands region. Generally poor economic growth has resulted in an increase in the poverty level which presently stands at approximately 56%. Migration from the rural areas to the urban areas has resulted in unplanned settlements in suburban areas accommodating about 60% of the urban population on only 5% urban land area; the region of study comprise of a mixture of middle and high class settlements but still it is full of activities attracting people from all forms of social classes. Political interference also hampers smooth running of Nairobi city council. Vulnerability of pollution of surface and groundwater is high because waste management authorities rarely considered environmental impact in siting SW disposal sites. Illegal dumping of SW on the river banks or on the roadside poses environmental and economic threats on nearby properties. Poor servicing of SW collection vehicles, poor state of infrastructure and the lack of adequate funding militate against optimization of SW disposal service. The rural economy needs to be improved if rural-urban migration is to be managed. Involvement of stakeholders is 'important to achieve any meaningful and sustainable SWM. The role of the informal sector through CBOs, NGOs and the private sector which seams to be offering some solution towards improvement of SWM was also explored. Questionnaires were disbursed to inhabitants of this region with a bias to business, employees and residential persons and sought to find out whether proper waste management mechanisms are in place in order to propose recommendations aimed at improving the already existing initiatives.