Experts call for concrete measures to make cities in Africa more liveable

Friday, May 20th, 2022 06:04 | By
Nairobi city. Kenya Photo/FILE

Solid waste management in the emerging cities in Africa is still a challenge, a study presented on the sidelines of the Africities Summit in Kisumu has revealed.

A report by Practical Action found that effective waste management is relatively expensive, usually comprising between 20 and 50 per cent of city budgets.

The report showed that only between 30 and 70 per cent of waste generated in the African cities is collected daily for disposal. As a result, uncollected waste is often disposed of in open dumps, along the streets and/orinto water bodies posing serious environmental hazards.

Western Kenya Practical Action Coordinator Mathews Okello said African states must improve on solid waste management to reduce public health risks. He was appalled by the increasing solid waste challenges due to the rapid population growth in the cities.

Okello spoke as environmental experts called for proper management of waste in the intermediary cities to build sustainable and liveable cities. Kisumu County, for instance, the environmental baseline survey revealed only 21 per cent of the 252 tonnes of waste generated per day is collected.

The study was done in the last three years on low-income countries' settlements in Bangladesh and Kisumu and Dakar.

Although the study found out that the cities in the three select areas were doing a lot in collecting and managing waste now, they still need to put in more effort.

The three countries under study shared their cross-cutting experiences in solid waste management and suggested solutions. Waste management “Look at Kisumu, if we can only manage to collect 21 per cent of the 200 tonnes of waste generated per day, what’s left is hazardous,’’ Okello said.

The baseline study put people back at the heart of waste management illustrating diverse management systems. Burning of waste emits black carbon, which while short-lived has a disproportionate warming effect.

This contributes between 2 and 10 per cent to climate change emissions. Waste pickers also decried abuse and discrimination despite waste today being the new raw material.

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