Role of informal plastic waste recovery in solid waste Management and planning in Kisumu town, Kenya
GICHANA, Evans Mageto
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The rapid rate of urbanization throughout the world has contributed to increased amounts of waste thus pausing difficulties for disposal The problem is more acute in developing countries including Kenya, where economic growth as well as urbanization is faster. Plastics have become a major threat due to their non-biodegradability and high visibility in the waste stream. Their presence in the waste stream causes a serious problem when there is lack of efficient end of life management of plastic waste. Inadequate management of plastic waste in Kisumu is as a result of lack of integration of the informal recovery sector into the formal solid waste management within the municipality. The main objective of this study was to examine the role of informal plastic waste recovery in solid waste management and planning in Kisumu Town, Kenya. The study explored the existing approaches, practices and impacts of plastic waste recycling and reuse by the informal sector. A sample size of 80 WPs out of 200 identified during the reconnaissance was selected for the study. The sample size was determined using a table developed by Bartllet, Kotrlik and Higgins for determining minimum sample size from a given population size for continuous and categorical data. Systematic random sampling technique was used to select the 80 respondents from ten identified sites. The study applied qualitative and quantitative techniques in collecting primary and secondary data. The data was analyzed, interpreted and presented using measure of central tendency, statistical tables and graphs. The result of the study indicated that 47% of the respondents are found within the age bracket of 10-18 years who are within the school going age. This raises the concern about care and parental responsibility in which the respondents gave varied views as to why they engaged in waste picking. Majority of WPs (70%) of them engaged in waste picking in order to get income against 5% who said they were keen on cleaning the environment. The results also indicated that a well-established network exists in the informal recovery sector involving waste pickers, waste dealers and factories. About eight hundred households in Kisumu depend on the recovery of plastic waste materials in order to make a living. The activities have proved profitable and play an important role in waste management. Furthermore, lack of a formal recycling system has made it possible for the informal sector to flourish with minimal government interference. The government's neglect of the work of informal plastic recovery sector as well as civil society's lack of trust has proved to be one of the mam difficulties confronting the sector. This research recommended that it is essential that the government starts to recognize the role of the informal sector by putting in place a policy framework that can guide plastic waste recovery systems by incorporating informal recycling activities into sustainable plastic waste management systems.