Integrated Sustainable Waste Management


Rapid economic development, unprecedented population growth and rapid urbanization are the primary issues related to municipal solid waste management in Nairobi City, thus accelerating the dire need for ISWM. Solid waste generation has been estimated at 2,400 tonnes per day in 2004 from 1500 tonnes per day in 1998 (JICA 1998, Bahri 2005).

Nairobi city faces similar challenges like most cities in developing countries primarily linked to inadequate financing, lack of awareness on good sanitary practices, inadequate legal and regulatory framework and lack of infrastructure and technology among others.

This has been exacerbated by the inadequacy in solid waste management strategies and little or no involvement of stakeholders in the solid waste management decision making process which are some of the key concepts in ISWM.

Based on the ISWM framework the SWOT analysis for the current situation can be analyzed as below:

Strengths Weaknesses

  • Nairobi City has an already established Environmental unit headed by a County Executive Committee Member
  • Nairobi county has portrayed the willingness in investing in solid waste management equipment through purchase of several waste collection trucks and installation of collection points within the city
  • The role of the National Environment Management Authority in solid waste management is quite clear
  • Existing National and County -level environmental laws and regulations
  • Increasing Public Private Partnership in waste management.

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  • Lack of comprehensive national and county level policies, legislation and economic instruments
  • Solid waste management is not an immediate priority to the Nairobi City County Government thus low budgetary allocations
  • The lack of political goodwill at the city level
  • Land allocation does not consider waste disposal as a land use thus, limited or no land is set aside for waste management and land use conflicts between SWM and other competing interests
  • Lack of investment in final disposal sites thus leading to the evolving of landfills into open dumpsites
  • Inadequate trained personnel in solid waste management
  • Inadequate machinery and equipment and poor maintenance of existing ones
  • Poor attitude/perception on individual responsibility towards waste management.

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  • Poor infrastructure within the residential areas hindering SWM collection services
  • Lack of modern facilities like sanitary landfills for waste disposal
  • Communities intolerance towards the establishment of SWM facilities

Opportunities Threats

  • Increasing public awareness by the public to a clean and healthy environment thus demanding for accountability by the Nairobi city council towards the provision of these services.
  • Self-employment opportunities for small scale business through diverse waste-based enterprises (from ‘trash to cash’)
  • External funding from development partners and investors
  • Emerging technologies in SWM that can be adopted in developing countries • Political interference and patronage
  • Vandalism of SWM infrastructure
  • Illegal gangs at disposal sites leading to insecurity
  • Land use conflicts

Future planning of SWM in Nairobi requires the involvement of all key stakeholders, incorporation of modern technology in SWM and the development of comprehensive policies, regulations and institutional framework which are key towards attaining sustainable ISWM. Nairobi city should embrace activities related to the solid waste management hierarchy in the preferred order: waste reduction, reuse, recycling, resource recover, incineration and landfilling.

The strategy is driven by protection of the environment and public health and incorporates short term strategies like achieving a certain percentage in waste recovery through recycling and composting including safe disposal. Based on the SWOT analysis below is a summary of a 10-year ISWM Strategy.

Objective 1: To formulate policies, legislations and economic instruments to reduce waste generation

Activity Time Frame Actors

Policies, legislation and economic instruments Develop comprehensive policies and economic instruments and harmonize across sectors. This will be done inclusively of all identified stakeholders at different stages of SWM.

  • Nairobi county Government
  • National Government
  • National Environnent Management Authority (NEMA)

Implement policies and economic instruments. Incentivizing reduction, reusing, recycling and recovery schemes.

Objective 2: To promote onsite solid waste segregation

Institute onsite solid waste segregation

Provision of infrastructure to aide in onsite solid waste segregation. The installation of onsite leak proof well labelled solid waste collection points around the city. – Nairobi County Government

Intensive waste segregation campaigns through media, all levels of educational institutions campaigns etc. County Government CSOs, NGOs, NEMA, CBOs

Objective 4: To establish environmentally sound infrastructure and systems for sustainable waste management

Rehabilitate the existing SWM facilities Upgrade the existing SWM facilities e.g. there exist several solid waste collection points for business owners in the city. These can be upgraded into modern collection points – Nairobi County Government

Waste collection and Transportation services Provision of adequate and appropriate collection facilities and appropriate transportation services either large garbage trucks for accessible zones of the city to smaller trucks accessible to congested areas of the city – Nairobi county Government

  • Donors: Waste treatment facilities Establish recycling and composting facilities – Nairobi county Government
  • Local and International Investors: Waste disposal facilities Develop sanitary landfills – Nairobi county Government
  • Local and International Investors

Risks and proposed mitigation actions

  1. 1. Civil unrest damaging SWM management structures: Knowledge on the political environment, construction of tamper proof structures
  2. 2. Technical performance of facilities (composting and recycling) and infrastructure:
  • Engage in proven technologies for the developing countries with consideration on the road conditions, climate, operations and maintenance. Include equipment performance guarantees from the manufacturer or supplier.
  • Engage in public consultation for acceptance and approval of new technology.


  • JICA., 1998. The study on solid waste management in Nairobi city in the republic of Kenya. A final report. Japan International cooperation Agency (JICA), in collaboration with CTI Engineering & Environmental technology consultants
  • Bahri Girum, 2005. Sustainable Management of Plastic Bag Waste: The Case of Nairobi, Kenya. An MSc. Thesis, The International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics, University of Lund, Sweden
  • The National Solid Waste Management Strategy, 2015

Cite this page

 Integrated Sustainable Waste Management. (2021, Sep 21). Retrieved from

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