The challenges of solid waste management facing the city of Kinshasa: the case of Kinshasa local municipality

Longondjo Etambakonga, Clement
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Solid waste management has become the real challenge in many cities in the world. The situation has become more critical in many local municipalities in Africa because of the rapid growing of urbanization, bad governance and the high incidence of poverty. To this end, the accumulation of solid waste has become a health hazard responsible for the occurrence of various kinds of diseases. The purpose of this research is to identify the challenges of solid waste management in the city of Kinshasa. The case study of Kinshasa Local Municipality (KLM) which is part of the city of Kinshasa is the area affected mostly by waste challenges and is the focal point of the study. This municipality involves key stakeholders such as households, informal collectors, private sector, public sector and the international organization in the management of waste. The study has utilised the collection of data from secondary and primary sources. The primary sources entailed the interviews which were carried out based on questionnaire surveys administered to key stakeholders together with field observations. The secondary sources were documents including policy documents of the Congolese Government, legislations regarding solid waste management as well as relevant books and journals. The research indicates that solid waste is a tragedy in Kinshasa Local Municipality as a result of mismanagement and lack of policies by the Congolese Government at all levels. Challenges identified include: unplanned growth and increasing pressure to provide services; lack of adequate authority to address people, infrastructure and resourcing problems; bureaucratic confusion and delays due to a multitude of agencies; lacking accountability; limited communication within the city administration and more importantly between the city administration and the various stakeholders; lacking of environmental education and awareness within local municipality; lacking skills of municipal workforces; financial constraints and gender related issues. This research makes planning recommendations in terms of rational comprehensive planning, equity planning, communicative planning and advocacy planning in a complementary and integrative approach. Within these integrated forms of planning, there are further recommendations for: enforcing environmental legislation; reducing plastic production through principle „pollutant pay for pollution‟; empowering women for their engagement in waste management; consolidating leadership in local municipality level, promoting decentralization and municipal finance systems; promoting educational awareness and community participation, and creating partnership between different stakeholders in solid waste management in the city of Kinshasa as a whole.