Private and public sector's involvement in urban environmental management : the case of solid waste management in Meru Municipality
Murerwa-Leah, Rehema K.
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Generation of waste within urban centres has been on the rise owing to population increase, industrialization and changes in affluence. Production and consumption of products has been on the rise hence materials ending up in waste streams have enormously increased in amount. In developed countries, authorities and societies are particularly keen on good environmental management thus, there is a lot of effort put in place to have corresponding measures to counter the situation of increasing waste volumes. However in developing countries like Kenya and specifically in Meru Municipality, effective solid waste management remains a big challenge. Even with all the advancements that societies have been through, solid waste management systems that were designed for a small simple society remain more or less the same and can no longer cope with today's complicated situations. Solid waste management is yet to be given the attention it deserves, meanwhile, waste materials continue to degrade the environment and affect the health of the people. This study looked at the types of waste generated in Meru Municipality, existing solid waste management system(s) for the area, the community's participation in waste management and the presence of private actors in the municipality's waste management practices. Information about these issues was gathered from a representative sample size of 205 households. Each respondent interviewed represented a household. It was established that no private companies or community based associations take part in SWM in Meru Municipality. Municipal Council of Meru is only able to serve 41.7% of residents in waste collection and disposal, and it mainly employs dumping and burning as the major methods of disposing 15 different types of wastes. The biggest waste management challenge the residents of Meru Municipality are currently dealing with is environmental pollution. Apart from encouraging the community in this municipality to embrace waste separation, it is important for the national government and development partners to step in and uplift the financial capacity of Municipal Council of Meru. This can possibly make it more efficient in waste management services.