Minimization of the cost of solid waste management through alternative financing mechanisms in Kajiado County
Sirengo, Enid Nafula
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The need for investment in the Solid Waste Management (SWM) sector in Low- and Middle Income Countries (LMIC) far outstrip their financial resources. The real challenge for LMIC is to set up sound SW management for both economic and ecological reasons. One of the Solutions recommended is the involvement of other sectors which will provide alternative sources of finance for managing solid waste. To succeed in waste management, adequate financing is needed. This study aimed to demonstrate both theoretically and empirically that traditional financing is inadequate and thus alternative financing methods are necessary to curb and minimize the costs of Solid waste management. This study was carried out in Kajiado County which is located south of the former Rift Valley province and now county under the new administrative boundaries as per the new constitution. The main objective of this study was to explore the potential of employing alternative financing mechanisms in managing municipal Solid Waste in Kajiado County of Kenya with a view to minimize the costs of SWM. To investigate the potential of employing alternative financing to minimize costs of SWM, this study used a combination of both quantitative and qualitative methodologies to research. It therefore draws on the cross-sectional study design as explained by Bryman (2004) and also on aspects of a phenomenological research design as discussed by Blanche et al., (2006). Statistical analysis showed that there is a great chance that alternative financing reduces the costs of SWM. Other findings revealed that the majority proportion of the public in Kajiado County exhibited concern that with the amount solid waste being generated there is not enough financial resources to pay for the costs involved. Though some within the county still believe that Solid waste Management is the responsibility of the government, a majority agree that other alternative financing methods need to be sought out to effectively manage solid waste. Not a single mechanism has been unanimously agreed upon. The alternative financing mechanisms discussed within this paper include private sector participation, micro finance involvement though SWM projects and use of a combination of both private and public sector participation. From the regression one could deduce that despite their being a high level of awareness of different alternative approaches to solid waste management, there is little uptake of the same. As such, policy makers should concentrate on building capacity within the councils to be able to pursue these options of guiding organizations to uptake alternative financing methods. Thus, more resources should be incurred not on creating awareness of alternative financing mechanisms for solid waste management but in laying down structures to actually obtain financing from alternative sources for enhanced SWM for a cleaner and environment friendly society. Political, cultural and social concerns also prevent the topic of solid waste management to be discussed openly. It is evident from the exponential growth of people migrating from urban to peri-urban regions like Kajiado and increased levels of illegal dumping sites that the government can no longer manage to finance for SWM on its own. There are successful stories from other countries like Bolivia, The Philippines and Argentina. This study wishes to open a forum within the county and encourage the uptake of employing alternative sources for financing SWM activities.