Urban solid waste management, environmental governance, and private sector initiatives : a case from Nairobi, Kenya
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Managing solid waste is one of the greatest challenges a city of any size faces regardless of its development level. Waste management in Nairobi has been a well-known problem for many years, stated by international organizations, the government, and its people. A combination of rapid population growth, urbanization and economic development is causing increased waste generation, putting further pressure on weak systems. This study aims to find out what the previous efforts in securing a stable and functioning waste management system in Nairobi have been, and thorough using a resource regime framework try to pinpoint the main reasons why the efforts have failed. Additionally, it is looking at the private sector’s role in securing sustainable waste management in Nairobi, using the integrated sustainable waste management framework. The data was found through a combination of analyzing secondary and primary sources. First, to analyze the efforts made by the government in Kenya and the current waste regime, research and analysis on secondary sources was carried out on waste generation, collection, content, and practices in Nairobi, in addition to official legal documents, strategies, and plans for waste management. Then interviews with respondents from four companies working with waste, as well as two individuals with vast waste management knowledge were held, to understand the role of the private sector. The study finds that Kenya and Nairobi have a large body of legislation on waste management, and one of the strictest bans in the world on plastic bags. However, except for the ban on plastic bags, there is generally low levels of implementation and enforcement of the relevant legislation. The private sector plays an important role in managing waste in Nairobi, however a clear strategy and relationship between the public and private sector is needed to ensure the best possible outcomes are experienced for all areas of the city. Awareness on waste and its consequences seems to be on the rise, which is promising for the future waste management in Nairobi, however concrete action is needed for things to improve in the Green City in the Sun.