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Information for G04296

Urban ARK 11: Improving solid waste management practices to reduce health risks in Nairobi and Mombasa

Blessing Mberu, Mwange Chege

Briefing, 4 pages

Globally, urbanization is associated with increased generation of solid waste. City authorities have struggled to provide adequate waste management services, especially in developing countries. Kenya is no exception to this trend. Approximately 50% of solid waste generated daily in Nairobi, Kenya’s capital city, is not collected which translates into widespread unsafe disposal. Poor solid waste management (SWM) is known to have negative health impacts including proliferation of infectious and non-communicable diseases. It also contributes to environmental degradation and greenhouse gas emissions. Researchers at the African Population and Health Research Center (APHRC) undertook a three-year project to better understand the health and environmental impacts of poor solid waste management in Kenya. The study conducted in the cities of Nairobi and Mombasa revealed high variability in SWM practices, from storage to collection, transport and disposal. Residents of both cities who participated in the study also reported high levels of awareness about health risks associated with poor solid waste management. Diarrheal diseases, respiratory conditions, malaria and allergies were the most commonly reported illnesses associated with exposure to poor solid waste management. Measures that city authorities can take to reduce health and environmental risks from poor solid waste management include:
• Adoption of health- and environmentally-friendly waste disposal practices
• Encourage higher uptake of waste reduction, reuse and recycling
• Strengthen coordination and regulation of community and private sector players

based on Amugsi, D, Haregu, T, Mberu, B, Muindi, K and Ziraba, A (2017) Solid Waste Management and Risks to Health in Urban Africa: A Study of Nairobi and Mombasa Cities in Kenya. APHRC, Nairobi.

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Publication information

  • IIED code: G04296
  • Published: Jun 2018 - Urban ARK
  • Area: Kenya
  • Theme: Urban
  • Language: English

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Urban Africa Risk Knowledge is an international research and capacity building programme focusing on risk reduction in sub-Saharan African cities.

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Urban Africa Risk Knowledge (Urban ARK)

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