Factors influencing the performance of solid waste firms: the case of Thika sub-county, Kiambu county, Kenya
The study is an investigation of the factors that influence performance of Solid waste firms in Thika Sub-County. Study objectives included establishing how economic factors, social factors, technical factors and environmental factors influence performance of Solid Waste Firms in Thika Sub-County. The study did a census of all the thirteen solid waste firms in Thika Sub-County. In addition, cluster sampling research design was used to collect views from households in Thika Sub-county. From a total of 92,492 households, a sample of 156 respondents was chosen. The study combined both primary and secondary data. Primary data was collected using questionnaires, after which the data was summarized and categorized according to common themes. Data collected was then analysed using frequency distribution tables and descriptive statistics was used to describe the general characteristics of the population. The study found that financial factors namely financial allocation, service charges and willingness to pay influence performance of solid waste firms. The study found that there was inadequate financial allocation for effectiveness of the solid waste firms. The study found that the service charges were low, yet households were generally unwilling to pay more for services and were instead demanding utility from the little they were paying. Social factors like the health and social conditions of the workers, safety and perception of the workers as well as stakeholder participation influence solid waste firms. Analysis on technical factors showed lack in areas such as the number of skilled personnel, equipment and vehicles to deal with collection and disposal. Environmental factors such as use of waste containers, transportation and disposal procedures as well as awareness on health and environmental concerns were also identified. The study showed that waste containers and waste collection points were not adequate in the region. The study findings would be helpful in policy making and in designing appropriate programs and services for Solid waste management in Thika Sub-County. The study recommended Economic Empowerment of Solid Waste Firms operating in the region through the participation of both the households and the business community through Corporate Social responsibility. The study also recommended an improvement of the waste collection methods, from use of concrete containers and dumping waste along the road; to use of closed containers that are water-tight and environmentally acceptable. The study recommended that further research needs to be carried out to establish ways of engaging a participatory approach to waste segregation and sorting prior to proper disposal, as a way of minimizing waste.
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