Exploring the role of local authorities and community participation in solid waste management in sub-saharan Africa: a study of Alexandra, Johannesburg, South Africa
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Local Environment, 27:2, 197-214, DOI: 10.1080/13549839.2021.2010186
Solid waste management (SWM) has become a heavy burden in developing countries. In Africa, most urban centres consist of a large part of the waste produced by the inhabitants. This often becomes problematic and leads to poor SWM. South Africa faces the challenges of SWM that are mainly due to population growth and the lack of integrated programmes between local authorities and community members. It is in this context that this study focuses on the roles of local authorities and communities in SWM in Alexandra, Johannesburg, South Africa. Using a qualitative research methodology inspired by the traditional participatory research approach, it finds that a large proportion of urban areas face SWM problems, due to many factors. These factors include poor communication between community members and local authorities, lack of community participation, lack of local government strategies to involve the community, which complicates the situation. This study indicates that both stakeholders (the community and local authorities) do not play their roles sufficiently in the management of solid waste in Alexandra. As a result, the problem is too widespread and difficult to control, often being too costly for the community. The study highlights the importance of community participation in SWM to ease the burden on local authorities.