Zero plastic waste for a healthier ecosystem: an assessment of sustainable waste management in Runda estate, Nairobi
The human anatomy is a practical route to bring the issue of waste to better understanding. A comparison between buildings and the human body shows similarities therein, mechanisms for air to flow in and out, pipe-work for various functions, walls protecting entities within from dangers without, amongst other matching features seeing as buildings are an extension of ourselves. A major difference would be that we are in charge of our own grooming whilst buildings are not. This is the essence of waste management plans. They are important tools that help us keep the environment within and without the building from the ‘harms’ of waste. An increasing population leads to a growing demand in plastic goods and generation of plastic waste. Nairobi’s population has been growing consistently. This has led to a comparable increase in plastics consumption and consequently an increase in plastic waste generation and pollution. The informal sector is however seen to engage actively in the resource recovery of plastic waste in both of these neighbourhoods. Studies done on plastic waste pollution in ocean waters give ground for constructive brainstorming of possible solutions to the grave problem that threatens human existence. Plastics are consumed by wild life and organisms in the ecosystem and end up traveling through the food chain. Human beings consume (from abattoirs, through hunting and fishing etc.,) foods that contain the same plastics alongside micro-organisms and toxins that may have accumulated in the same. The purpose of this study is to assess the effects of plastics on the environment and the need for integration amongst stakeholders. This research takes to task segregation as a much required human behavior for plastic waste management. It however begs the question, are residents motivated to participate in this impactful activity? With constantly changing innovations to meet our constantly changing needs and solving the world’s problems through practical solutions, the end of plastics is not in sight. The design proposed for this study is hypothesis testing because it explains the nature of the relationships between the variables. Questionnaires and interviews are used to collect primary data while secondary data is gathered from perusing books, journals, working papers amongst other research documents. The area of study is Runda Estate in Nairobi. It is served by a private waste management company called Taka Taka Solutions (TTS) who offer sustainable services. This study focuses on Runda Estate because it is an affluent estate where the researcher studies the important consumer habits emanating from their status. The relevant samples for this study are selected through area sampling method and a formula relevant for sample sizes for small populations. The researcher arrived at the conclusion that reduction, reuse and recycling highly involve and depend on changes in human attitudes, behaviours and patterns. Runda residents were found knowledgeable of the problem of plastics and the existing linkages with the variables aforementioned. However, they have not shown their application of this knowledge in practical terms despite having access to resources. The analysis of the research questions shows that these residents are indifferent to the way and/or manner their behaviours impact plastic waste management. Recommendations and areas of further study to improve efficiency and effectiveness of waste management point to the need for structures that enable a circular economy.