Exploring community participation in solid waste management using participatory action research in Zambia’s Kanyama peri urban area

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Shikabi, Agness
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The University of Zambia
Worldwide, over two thirds of human waste is released into the environment with little or no treatment. This later results in the deterioration of the urban environment in form of air, water, and land pollution that poses risks to human health and the environment. In the developing world, urbanization implies the expansion of existing slum areas and the mushrooming of new ones. The provision of solid waste management services in Zambia’s Kanyama settlement, a slum area in the capital city Lusaka has proved to be a challenge which has been worsened and exacerbated by the lack of community engagement resulting in indiscriminate disposal of waste on the streets, empty spaces, ditches, drainages and streams. The purpose of this study is to explore ways to promote community participation in solid waste management using participatory action research. The study employed qualitative participatory action research methods. Data was collected using Photo Voice as a core method with 3 Focus Group Discussions. A meandering Transect walk was conducted with 12 participants and 10 Key Informant Interviews. Data was analyzed using thematic analysis. Qualitative data analysis for photo voice involved an iterative, multi-stage, collaborative process between the participants and researcher. The participatory study revealed that ward ten is grappling with major solid waste challenges, the community is littered with hip and hips of uncollected garbage, clogged drainage and strong stench coming from the uncollected garbage and over flowing pit latrines and swamps in the neighborhood. The study further unearthed illegal solid waste management practices and behaviors that residents have adopted over the years which has prevented them from subscribing to waste collection services. Illegal dumpsites have been created by residents in the community Community led and community participation has long been accepted as the only sustainable process of ensuring long lasting and permanent positive change in the urban poor communities. The study explored community participation the inward ten of Kanyama, the findings point out to the fact that the lack of community led approaches to solid waste management as well as practices and attitudes adopted by the community over the years have allowed continued indiscriminate disposal of waste. As a community action oriented study these findings are not only relevant for planning, implementation purposes, the findings also authoritatively point out of the residents ‘s demands for revision of the legislative and policy environment in solid waste management in the country . The study also points the need for vigorous and massive community engagement for the residents to begin to change their mindset regarding waste in the community. The findings of this study further emphasize the importance of embracing community friendly and community led innovative ways of tackling of solid waste. Keywords: Zambia, waste management, participatory action research, community participation, indiscriminate waste disposal
Waste Management--Community participation--Zambia , Waste Management--Indiscriminate waste disposal--Zambia