Solid Waste Management Policies in Kenya: The Silence on the Plight of Women and Children

  • November 2021
  • Journal Articles

Building on available evidence that there are differences of exposure to solid waste among men, women and children, it follows that effective solid waste management (SWM) policies need to recognise such variations, as a prelude to rolling out programmes to address associated socio economic and health risks. However, this logical scenario does not seem to be the case in many middle- and low-income countries. In this paper, we use analytical review methodology to examine integrated environmental management and sector specific policies in Nairobi and Mombasa, Kenya’s two biggest cities, to highlight the extent to which existing policies cover the differential challenges of exposure to solid waste and associated health challenges for women and children. We found that apart from one municipal policy and the Kenya Vision 2030 documents respectively, which underscore the importance of including women and young people in waste management, 16 other policy documents reviewed are generally silent on women and children issues. Beyond the limited focus on women- and children- specific challenges, the general lag in policy implementation and enforcement of regulations will still hinder the emergence of an effective SWM system out of the best policy frameworks. The preceding discussion underscores both policy and implementation gaps, which need to be filled, if policies will potentially engender SWM practices that will be relevant and effective in protecting the health of the most vulnerable in urban Africa.



Associate Research Scientist

Dickson Amugsi

Dickson is an Associate Research Scientist attached to the Maternal…

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Theme Leader, Population Dynamics and Urbanization In Africa

Blessing Mberu

Blessing is a Senior Research Scientist and Head of Urbanization…

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Associate Research Scientist

Kanyiva Muindi

Kanyiva is an air quality researcher within the Urbanization and…

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