Residents’ participation in solid waste management in Solwezi.

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Mutobe, Belina
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The University of Zambia
Community participation in solid waste management is currently seen as a determinant of successful solid waste management. Cases of failed solid waste management are common in areas where waste management is regarded as a responsibility of local authorities while the community remains indifferent. Research has shown that public participation in solid waste management is marginal in most African countries. The study was aimed at analysing the residents’ participation in solid waste management in three residential areas of Solwezi. Results are cardinal in designing more sustainable waste management strategies. It utilised systematic random sampling to sample 77 households of which 28 were from Kyawama Township, 23 from Stadium and 26 were from Kandundu Townships. Structured interviews, key informant interviews and observations were used to collect data on methods of waste disposal, residents’ perceptions of solid waste management services available, and their willingness to pay for sustainable solid waste management. Data analysis was conducted using descriptive statistics, chi-square, correlation techniques and content analysis. Results showed that 65 percent of the residents felt that they did not participate in any formal waste management practices. The 35 percent who admitted to being participants felt they did this through waste separation, reuse and through their engaging a formal waste collector. In Solwezi, burying of waste (44.2 percent) was the dominant waste management practice followed by formal waste collection (35 percent) and burning (19.4 percent), while informal waste collectors accounted for2.6 percent of waste disposed and 1.3 percent of waste was disposed of through communal rubbish bins. Solwezi had a very low participation of the residents in a formal waste collection services with some residents not aware of the existence of such a service in the town (31.2 percent). Among barriers to community engagement in solid waste management in Solwezi were a lack of knowledge of the existence of formal waste collection systems (35 percent), failure by the local municipal council to provide waste bins either in residential areas or streets (13 percent), relatively high costs of engaging in formal solid waste management and a lack of alternative cheaper ways of managing domestic solid waste. There was general willingness by most residents to pay for sustainable solid waste management (57.2 percent) with only 2.6 percent indicating they felt that the local municipal council should treat waste management as a service that residents do not have to pay for. In conclusion, the low community participation in solid waste management in Solwezi was attributed to failure to adequately sensitize residents by the municipal council, residents’ attitudes towards sustainable management of solid waste and token community engagement in decisions related to solid waste management by the local authority. The study recommended sensitization in community participation as well as incentivising champions of community waste management as a way of improving community participation in solid waste management.
Thesis of Master of Science in Environmental and Natural Resources Management.