Causes and Effects of Poor Solid Waste Management in the Semi-urban Town of Ongata Rongai in Kenya

International Journal of Environmental and Health Sciences, 1(1), 2018

Author: George Gitau Chiira
Affiliation: Managing Director, Going Green on Sustainability, P.O Box, 8479-00100 – Nairobi, Kenya. Email Address:


Solid Waste Management is one of the most neglected area of development in most developing and transition economies of the world. With rapid growth of urban and semi-urban towns in Kenya, the issue of solid waste management in the country continues to pose great threats to sustainable development. The main purpose of this study was to examine the causes and effects of poor solid waste management with reference to Ongata Rongai Town in Kenya. The study employed descriptive survey and naturalistic research designs. Survey design was suitable in describing the situation of solid waste in the town; naturalistic design on the other hand was deemed vital in providing the researcher’s own lived experiences in the town’s settings. The target population included the major solid waste management companies and residents served by these companies.  The sample included ten (n=10) directors of the solid waste management companies and seventy (n=70) residents served by the companies. Questionnaire method was used to collect data owing to its appropriateness in reaching out to a huge number of people within a short time. The collected data were analyzed with the help of SPSS. Descriptive statistics such as frequencies and percentages were used to report the findings. From the analysis, the study established that the major causes of poor solid waste management in the township was indiscriminate dumping of refuse (38%), poor refuse collection approaches (28%) and upsurge of population (20%).  The study also showed that poor solid waste management had an effect on air pollution (50%), ground water pollution (21.7%) and diseases transmission (3.3%). The study recommends an adoption of more radical approaches in handling the issue of solid waste management in growing towns including recycling of solid wastes using 3Rs approach; privatization of solid waste management, solid waste disposal sensitization programs and policy driven local governance. This study is expected to re-awaken new interest among scholars, development practitioners and students of research about re-mapping the traditionally established models of solid waste management for environmental sustainability.

Keywords: solid waste management, solid waste in semi-urban towns, solid waste disposal, solid waste collection, waste management regulations, environmental management, environmental degradation, sustainable solid waste management, environmental sustainability, municipal waste, community waste, commercial waste, institutional waste, agricultural wastes,  waste disposal systems, environmental education, recycling, Ongata Rongai solid waste management issues