1.1Background to the Study
Solid waste is material that has no economic value at present, or material perceived as not having value at any given time and to a particular society (Ambasht 1999). Waste, garbage, trash, junk and refuse are all names given to that “stuff” that is no longer useful in its current form. In contemporary society, many of the items used daily are designed to be used and discarded. Thus, with the increased availability of disposables has come the added problem of how to get rid of all this waste (Chibanda 2000). Some of the challenges associated with solid waste disposal include the breeding of flies, cockroaches, mosquitoes and rodents as well as vectors of diseases like cholera, typhoid, malaria and plague to mention just a few (Evans 2004). However, besides the challenges associated with the poor solid waste disposal, the materials can offer opportunities to communities if properly handled.
Problems like insanitary conditions, difficulty of local authorities to manage refuse, high incidence of environmental diseases and increasing intolerance of community to insanitary environment has brought in a change in the way solid waste is managed. (Water Front Magazine, 1996). The change in strategy has created an opportunity like the availability and accessibility to a national Non Governmental Organization (NGO) with extensive and considerable community mobilization and development experience that has initiated participatory process of community empowerment, decision making and management. The initiating sector has been the local community. The participation of the community could bring about the active involvement of the community in all decision making stages of solid waste management, including policy making. Some of the strategies include reuse, recovery, reduction, recycling, composition as well as incineration. Solid waste minimization strategies minimizes the further exploitation of the scarce natural resources, thus containing the spreading of the ecological foot print (degradation) of the towns and cities in different parts of the globe Chibanda (2000).
Solid waste management, focusing on recovery has been done with a measure of success in the Western Europe where plastic waste tends to be sorted by hand, either at a materials recycling facility to the household level. The UK produced approximately 4.5 million tones of plastic waste each year, whilst in Germany; the recovery rate is 70% (Donnellan 2000). In Ohio State, (the US) nearly a tone of locally generated residential and commercial waste per resident is land filled each year. However a few states have mandated up to a 50% reduction in waste going to landfills. Some communities are establishing mandatory recycling programmes. Waste is no longer out of sight out of mind, but a visible part of public policy.
The exercise was also successfully carried out in countries like Kenya, where as part of their environmental campaign in Nairobi, a group called Uvumbuzi started a “garbage is money” campaign in October 1992, to promote solid waste recovery through community participation and in the process creating a source of livelihood for the poor (Vogler 1984). Community participation in solid waste management was also a good move in Antananarivo, Madagascar as it brought in some positive changes. Thus, in a city of 1 million people recycling and reuse of solid waste material through the manufacture of toys is a living proof that waste can be converted to money away from the health and environmental problems associated with the accumulation of the waste in many small towns and cities of the world (Water front magazine 1996). Banket town, especially the high density suburb is not exceptional to challenges associated with solid waste management. The local authorities cannot do it alone. It is for this reason that this project seeks to assess the participation of the community in addressing...