Review of Solid Waste and Sanitation in Nairobi County: Case study Kibra Sub County

Solid waste and sanitation management refers to the collecting, treating and disposing of solid material that is discarded because it has served its purpose or is no longer useful. Improper disposal of municipal solid waste can create unsanitary conditions and these conditions can in turn lead to pollution of the environment and to outbreaks of vector –borne diseases. The task of solid waste management present complex technical challenges. They also pose a wide variety of administrative, economic and social problems that must be manage and solved. (Curley & A. Nathanson, 2010)

Solid waste management also offers solutions for recycling items that do not belong to garbage or trash. On the other hand, proper solid waste and sanitation management is an integral part of environmental conservation that should be observed by individuals and companies globally. This will keep the environment clean and safe and reduce health and settlement problems.

The increase in population in Kenya has led to rapid urban growth which has led to a rapid increase in informal settlements. Kibra Sub County is one of the informal settlements in Nairobi county which is characterized by: overcrowding, lack of formal employment opportunities and access to clean water, poverty, exposure to HIV and sexually transmitted diseases, and poor sanitation among others.

The study made several findings and observations on provision of services on matters of solid waste management by the county government as follows:

Garbage collection in Kibra Sub county has been organized in three different ways; i) individuals selected by the County who work mainly along the tarmac roads; ii) community groups (Community Based Organisations) collect from different households at a fee of Kenya shillings 20, constituting of between 10-20 people per group; and iii) private companies sub contracted by the county government to collect garbage from holding points only, since they have trucks and employ the youth to load the garbage to their trucks. This organization of garbage collection has seen young people being employed and earn a living, and improved cleanliness of the sub county.

Despite the efforts to collect and dispose solid waste, there are challenges still: Kibra Sub County residents remain exposed to diseases such as malaria, cholera and dysentery and air pollution because some of the residents cannot afford the garbage collection service charge and thus dump garbage in the trenches hence blocking them. Lindi and Makina wards lack holding points since they are overcrowded and the space available is for footpaths since the shacks are built adjacent to one another. Not to mention the delayed payment to the private companies causing them to withdraw from the task thus the holding points pile up and pose health risks to residents.

To address the challenges of Solid Waste Management an integrated approach is needed. Through identifying key stakeholders, specific issues which comprise important ‘stumbling blocks’ and make recommendations based on appropriate technologies, local information and pressing human and environmental concerns. More so, operationalize existing policies on solid waste management and collaboration between the national and county government on the issues, conducting civic education on importance of disposing solid waste in the right places and taking civic action to ensure clean and safe environment.

This projected was supported by the Global GreenGrants Fund.