Solid Waste Management in Nairobi, Kenya. A case for emerging economies.

  • Max Muniafu United States International University Kenya
  • Everlyne Otiato


Industrialization and globalization have increased the quantity and quality of goods that are produced and moved around the world mainly through trade. This has led to an increased generation of waste since due to availability; items are discarded with no real attachment or need for repair. Improved quality has seen the use of materials, which are either synthetic or not common in high concentrations in natures living life cycles and thus are potentially hazardous when released from consumer products into the environment. The question of what to do with human trash has been of concern to every society and over time, the concerned local authorities have set up waste collection and disposal systems. There are numerous reasons why we need to be concerned with waste. It is costly to dispose of, and the generation of large amounts of wastes impacts the environment. Domestic and industrial discharges of waste contaminate air, land and water with pollutants and toxics that can harm human and animal health and plant life. Waste technologies must therefore grow hand in hand with changing societal complexities to cope with the high volumes and new types of wastes produced. The question of cost also arises and becomes significant where national economies are weak or disorganized.

The paper gives an overview of the solid waste technology status in the capital city of a slowly industrializing country in Africa, Kenya, and suggests a way forward in improving waste technology. Currently the city, Nairobi, lacks an effective waste management system leading to high possibilities of negative short and long-term impacts on human health and the environment in general. To overcome these, there are wide ranges of requirements and suggested solutions, which include creation and enforcement of waste management policies as well as procedures, incentives, community participation, education and awareness, proper waste collection procedures and disposal sites among others.

 Key words: Solid waste management, open dumpsite, policies, legislature

Author Biographies

Max Muniafu, United States International University Kenya

Dr. Muniafu is an Assistant professor of Biology & Natural Sciences at the United States International University, Kenya.

Everlyne Otiato
Everlyn is an administrator at the Sustainable Initiaves Development Centre (SUDIC), United States International University, Kenya.