Where there's muck, there's brass

Proceedings Sardinia 2015, Fifteenth International Waste Management and Landfill Symposium S. Margherita di Pula, Cagliari, Italy; 5 – 9 October 2015 2015 by CISA Publisher, Italy WHERE THERE’S MUCK, THERE’S BRASS: A MARKET SYSTEMS APPROACH TO CONCEPTUALISING SOLID WASTE MANAGEMENT IN MOMBASA, KENYA M. CLARK*, J. PALFREMAN, AND J. VAN RHYN * Red Pueblo Ltd, 140a Heath Road, London, TW1 4BN, United Kingdom SUMMARY: Market systems development or M4P is an approach to poverty reduction widely used by many development agencies around the world 1 . The approach provides a unique framework for conceptualising ‘market systems’ which are often complex, dynamic, multi -stakeholder, and multi- functioning systems. Waste management systems in emerging countries are complex and pluralistic with an informal sector, typically represented by the poorest members of society, often making significant contributions to the operation of the waste management system, working alongside formal waste management stakeholders and approaches. M4P can be an essential tool for municipal authorities or others seeking to understand and enhance the performance of waste management systems in emerging countries, highlighting the roles, incentives and capacity of the informal sector to participate, the rules and norms that affect how they operate and interact with other stakeholders, and helping them to position themselves more effectively within the waste management system. Waste management in emerging countries is by and large perceived as a public good or service, representing a cost to municipal authorities. Resource recovery is often an after thought largely facilitate by an active informal sector. The M4P approach advocates focusing on the value-chain, specifically the core function or transaction in the waste management (market) system. Conceptually this facilitates a shift away from thinking about managing waste as a public service, towards a model where waste is seen as a resource to be managed and exploited for its value. Identifying and addressing the underlying constraints that affect efficiency in the waste market system and the recovery of more value from waste materials, enables the development of a waste management system that delivers environmental, social and economic benefits that are both large scale and long lasting 2 . M4P can also be used to explore labour market conditions that enhance waste management. For example, focusing attention on how to create decent and well-paid employment and income generating opportunities in the waste management sector can highlight incentives for both the formal and informal sectors looking to invest in the waste management sector or to create more sustainable business practices. Using Mombasa County, Kenya as a case- study this paper will explore how adopting a M4P approach led to the identification of three systemic issues which constrain the waste management system: poor coordination, a lack of information exchange, and an absence of innovation or support for entrepreneurship. Addressing 1 M4P: Making Markets Work for the Poor. http://www.enterprise-development.org/page/m4p 2 SDC, 2008b

Transcript of Where there's muck, there's brass

Page 1: Where there's muck, there's brass

Proceedings Sardinia 2015, Fifteenth International Waste Management and Landfill Symposium

S. Margherita di Pula, Cagliari, Italy; 5 – 9 October 2015

2015 by CISA Publisher, Italy






* Red Pueblo Ltd, 140a Heath Road, London, TW1 4BN, United Kingdom

SUMMARY: Market systems development or M4P is an approach to poverty reduction widely used

by many development agencies around the world1. The approach provides a unique framework for

conceptualising ‘market systems’ which are often complex, dynamic, multi-stakeholder, and multi-

functioning systems. Waste management systems in emerging countries are complex and pluralistic

with an informal sector, typically represented by the poorest members of society, often making

significant contributions to the operation of the waste management system, working alongside

formal waste management stakeholders and approaches. M4P can be an essential tool for municipal

authorities or others seeking to understand and enhance the performance of waste management

systems in emerging countries, highlighting the roles, incentives and capacity of the informal sector

to participate, the rules and norms that affect how they operate and interact with other stakeholders,

and helping them to position themselves more effectively within the waste management system.

Waste management in emerging countries is by and large perceived as a public good or service,

representing a cost to municipal authorities. Resource recovery is often an after thought largely

facilitate by an active informal sector. The M4P approach advocates focusing on the value-chain,

specifically the core function or transaction in the waste management (market) system.

Conceptually this facilitates a shift away from thinking about managing waste as a public service,

towards a model where waste is seen as a resource to be managed and exploited for its value.

Identifying and addressing the underlying constraints that affect efficiency in the waste market

system and the recovery of more value from waste materials, enables the development of a waste

management system that delivers environmental, social and economic benefits that are both large

scale and long lasting2. M4P can also be used to explore labour market conditions that enhance

waste management. For example, focusing attention on how to create decent and well-paid

employment and income generating opportunities in the waste management sector can highlight

incentives for both the formal and informal sectors looking to invest in the waste management

sector or to create more sustainable business practices. Using Mombasa County, Kenya as a case-

study this paper will explore how adopting a M4P approach led to the identification of three

systemic issues which constrain the waste management system: poor coordination, a lack of

information exchange, and an absence of innovation or support for entrepreneurship. Addressing

1 M4P: Making Markets Work for the Poor. http://www.enterprise-development.org/page/m4p

2 SDC, 2008b

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these issues can be tackled by both formal and informal sector stakeholders to enhance performance

in economic, environmental and social development terms. Such collaboration can, for example,

improve decision making and coordination regarding investment in essential infrastructure for

waste management. It can also increase the ability of those working in the informal sector to expand

and enhance their income generating activities.


Although generally considered a service industry delivering a public good, waste management can

also be described as a dynamic market system, focusing on the importance of waste as a resource

and the efficient management of materials. Where inefficiently managed, solid waste causes serious

degradation of the natural environment, significant risks to public health, which in turn may directly

or indirectly affect other economic sectors, for example the negative perceptions of poorly managed

waste that have been shown to impact tourism potential, or more generally lost workdays resulting

from poor health outcomes associated with poorly managed waste. These are all very real concerns

present in lower income countries. However, when viewed through the lens of a market system the

management of waste becomes a value added process – where waste is an input with numerous

opportunities for adding value, reducing social and environmental costs, and promoting economic

development through, for example, the creation of employment at each stage of the value chain.

Market players are involved in one or many processes or supporting functions involving the

collection, valorisation, recycling or resource recovery, disposal, and supporting services like street

sweeping. Much of the employment activity in the waste management sector in lower income

countries is derived from solid waste collection services, delivered either as a door-to-door

household service or from waste generation sources such as commercial properties, industrial

facilities, or institutions. Many of the employment or business opportunities in the sector are low-

skilled, manual jobs which require little training, as such barriers to entry are low and many young

people are engaged in waste management activities. Some of the poorest players operating the

sector are young men who earn a living working as waste picker. Indeed, many of those earning a

livelihood in the sector do so informally, and struggle to obtain official recognition or realise basic

employee’s rights. A detailed market systems analysis of the waste management system in

Mombasa County highlights three main challenges to a more efficient and effective management

system. This analysis was undertaken as part of a three-year UK Department for International

Development Market Development Project for Mombasa County seeking to improve labour market

access for Mombasa’s young people3. Primary and secondary data was gathered by the project team

in the field between March and November 2014 through a series of structured interviews, field

observations, and desk-based research of existing public sector records on solid waste. A Waste

Characterisation study was also carried out to establish the quantum and character of municipal

solid waste being produced in Mombasa County4.

1.1 Mombasa County

Situated on the shores of the Indian Ocean, Mombasa, Kenya’s second largest city and home to

approximately 1.1 million people is the most prominent trading hub in East Africa and the second

3 The three year Kuza Project intends to address selected root causes of youth unemployment in Kenya’s second city,

and to encourage productive and sustainable job creation for Mombasa’s young men and women. The project consists

of a combination of skills development, market development, and policy support. The project’s intended beneficiaries

are un- and underemployed women and men between the ages of 18 and 30, whose incomes are at the lowest end of the

scale in the county. 4 All data is copyright the DFID Kuza project, Mombasa, 2015.

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largest in sub-Saharan Africa. The city lies within an area of approximately 294.7km2, with a

calculated density of 5,224/k2, split into four distinct geographical areas composed of: Mombasa

Island, Mainland North, West Mainland and South Mainland. Mombasa Island is separated from the

mainland by inlets to the sea, though is linked to Mainland West by Makupa Causeway and to

Mainland North by the Nyali Bridge. Access to the island from the ‘south coast’ (Mainland South)

is by ferry only.

Figure 1. Mombasa County. Source Kuza Project, 2015.

Demographic change, as across much of eastern and southern Africa, is rapid. Population growth

rates, although expected to slow by the middle of the century, are currently growing at an average

of 3.8% per annum. Growth is a result of in-migration from rural areas as well as from births from

within the existing urban area. Unfortunately high population growth has been unaccompanied by

relative investments in infrastructure, basic services and employment opportunities for youth. A key

feature of the growth of Mombasa has been the increasing informalisation of the labour market with

many families relying on informal economic activities for income, and income inequality becoming

increasingly disparate across the city. These inequalities have manifested themselves in a physical

sense too, with wide variation in housing and basic infrastructure provision across the city, with as

much as 65% of the population living in informal settlements5, where one or more basic services are

absent - including proper solid waste management.

Mombasa, like many of its African urban centre counterparts, is a young city. 47% of the

Mombasa County’s population is between the ages of 18 and 35 and 69% of the workforce are

classed as young. Worryingly, 44% of young people are unemployed and the level of primary

school attendance is estimated as low at 50%; both worse rates than the national average. Solid

waste management in a city like Mombasa is not only an ever present challenge. It is also an

economic opportunity that if drawn upon, can produce local employment and income generating

opportunities whilst delivering positive environmental and social outcomes, provide the challenge is

framed in such a way.

5 SDI, 2015


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1.2 What is a market systems development approach?

Market systems development or value chain development is an approach to poverty reduction that

development agencies such as the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) and the

Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation have been at the forefront of promoting though the

Making markets work for the poor (M4P) concept. Under the market systems approach there is a

recognition that the poor are dependent on markets and therefore making changes to the way a

market system operates to work more effectively will improve livelihoods and ultimately reduce


A market systems approach provides a conceptual framework for understanding often complex

economic systems and as such can usefully be applied to many sectors of the economy. The

delivery of services such as water, sanitation, power, and solid waste management in urban areas of

lower income countries is an economic sector, or market system, that as yet as seen very little

attention in the discourse on market systems development. However these complex, highly

dynamic, multi-stakeholder systems require a robust conceptual framework to better understand

them - e.g. the motivations and incentives that govern their behaviour, in order to design sustainable

interventions that address market constraints and improve system performance. In lower income

countries in particular it is often the poorest in society who play a key role in ensuring whatever

waste management system is in place operates. In addition with millions of lower-income

consumers, service users or ‘bottom of the pyramid’ customers, waste management systems that can

be designed with the poorest of society in mind are likely to be more sustainable in the long run7.

The market systems diagnostic process starts by understanding the wider socio-economic context

before drilling down to the core function or value chain within the system; system actors roles,

responsibilities, and rules and norms; before finally identifying system specific constraints, or ‘root

causes’ that create market imperfections - in this case a dysfunctional waste management system,

e.g. un or underemployment, poor environmental protection, inefficient resource recovery systems.

A market system is described graphically below in Figure 2.

Figure 2. The market system (Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, 2014)

The conceptual framework for understanding a market system used in this paper is set out in

Table 1 below but can be broadly grouped into three analytical areas: sector context; market system

structure and performance; analysis of the constraints to the system. A market systems approach to

conceptualising the waste management system was adopted to identify key system constraints,

6 SDC, 2008 7 GIZ, 2013

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primarily with a view to increasing employment and income generating opportunities for

Mombasa’s young men and women. Although this particular systems analysis has an employment

focus, it is assumed that identifying systemic constraints to the efficient operation of the waste

management system would bring with positive development outcomes in terms of environmental

and social impact. The relevance and importance of adopting a market systems approach to solid

waste management in lower income countries though comes from the inherent flexibility this

conceptual framework offers, recognising the different motivations and incentives of the various

market players (or stakeholders) and their varying capacity to work/function within the systems.

More importantly for waste management policy makers, a market systems approach allows for a

rapid assessment of system constraints and accompanying project design which can be highly

experimental, yet provide value for money, where small changes at the system level can yield large

positive economic, social, and environmental outcomes.

The following sections of this paper will see the application of the market systems development

conceptual framework described in Table 1 to the solid waste management sector in Mombasa

County as follows:

2. Solid waste management sector context

3. System performance

4. System constraints analysis

5. Concluding remarks

Table 1. The market systems analysis conceptual framework8.

Information types Examples In order to:

Sector context

Socio-economic, demographic,

geographic context

Growth, competitiveness

potential and challenges

Key trends, prospects, drivers

and barriers to participation in

the sector

Identify specific markets which offer pro-

poor opportunities which might feasibly be

unlocked by intervention.

Market System

structure and


The structure of the market


The dynamics of the market

system and dimensions of its

performance (and system

stakeholder’s performance)

The poor’s position within the

market system

Identify where the market isn’t working for

the poor: ‘symptoms’. Or the symptoms

that define whether a particular system is

operating at maximum efficiency. For

example, the extent to which solid waste is

collected, or the proportion of waste that is

recovered for re-use. Who are the system

players (stakeholders), what roles to they

play, and what are the rules and norms that

govern their behaviour in the system



Key market functions and


Who does what and pays for


Incentives, capacity and


Interconnected markets

Identify underlying reasons for market

under-performance and possible

intervention points to stimulate systemic

change: ‘causes’.

8 SDC, 2008b

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The solid waste management sector in Mombasa County currently employs young people at every

stage of the waste cycle: from collection, to resource recovery (re-use, recycling or waste

valorisation9), to eventual disposal; and, in a number of supporting functions such as street

sweeping and urban landscaping (‘beautification’).

Many of the employment opportunities within the sector are manual, low-skill activities. There

are a high proportion of informal jobs and business opportunities making the sector relatively

attractive to poorer young men and women with low levels of education/training and few resources.

A higher proportion of men than women are employed in the sector, with men typically being found

carrying out manual/physical activities such as collection and sorting, and women being found

employed in street sweeping or beautification activities10

. The exception is the presence of women

in a number of the County’s CBOs, some women’s groups who may carry out waste management

activities (collection, sorting, valorisation) alongside other interests e.g. self-help groups or cultural


The poorest operating in the sector often earn a living informally, picking through waste at the

County’s waste collection points or dumpsites. Waste picking is typically a role carried out by

young men, often those who live on the dumpsite itself, and typically earn less than 300 KES/day.

Table 2. Approximate scale of employment within the waste management sector in Mombasa

County. Source, Kuza Project (2014)

Organisation type No. of

employees Activities Notes



500 Bulk evacuation from local

collection points to dumpsites;

street sweeping; beautification

Mainly low-skilled, street sweepers and

gardeners. Average salary 20000


Large private



500 Domestic and commercial

collection; street sweeping,

beautification, cleaning.

Majority of staff employed on a contract

basis e.g. 40% FTE/60% contract.

Average starting salary 8000



450 Domestic and commercial

collection; recycling

Many casual staff taken on for contract


Average starting salary 8000





300 plus

Domestic and commercial

collection; recycling;


c. 30 registered member organisations

specialising in solid waste management

with an average of 10-15, mainly part-

time members.

Average earnings: 5000-8000


Waste pickers 500 plus Recycling; valorisation Itinerant waste pickers and those

working at the municipal dumpsites

Average earnings: 5000-7000

KES/month (i.e. 200-300 KES/day)

9Extracting valuable materials from the waste stream, cleaning and upgrading them and trading them as inputs to

industry, commerce or agriculture (UN-HABITAT, 2010). 10

Waste management work is often physically demanding, particularly where large quantities of waste are collected by

hand and then transported in hand carts, which when fully laden can weigh in excess of 100kg.

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2.1 Solid Waste: a definition

Solid waste is defined here as any item or material that is discarded by its owner and that is not

discharged in gaseous form to the atmosphere, to a pit latrine or via a pipe or channel. Solid waste

may include gases and liquids in containers (UN-HABITAT, 2010).

It should be noted that this analysis focuses on municipal solid waste (domestic, commercial,

institutional waste). It does not consider hazardous, industrial or healthcare wastes which by their

very nature require special attention and are best separated out from municipal waste. It is

recognised however that at present there may be a level of mixing of wastes where hazardous waste

often ends up at municipal dumpsites.

2.2 Growth potential

Growth in the employment potential in the sector is dependent on the amount of waste being

generated within the County. Employment opportunities are thereby associated with the need and

up-take of waste collection services, which in turn present greater opportunities for recovering

resources or valorising waste, and in other supporting services such as street sweeping,

beautification and the final disposal of waste.

Waste generation rates are typically linked to demographic growth rates and income-level. Recent

demographic projections suggest that the urban population of Mombasa is currently growing on

average 3.8 % per annum (falling to around 3% per annum by 2050) with a current population in

excess of 1 million people. Income-level varies across the city as will consumption patterns which

will affect both the amount and type of waste being generated. A Waste Characterisation Study

carried out to support this market systems analysis estimates that at least 875 tonnes of municipal

solid waste is produced in Mombasa County per day, equivalent to just under 0.8kg/per person/per

day (see Table 1 below).

Table 3. Population and estimated waste generation rate for Mombasa County11

*average per capita generation rate

Of the waste that is generated, perhaps 50% or 460 tonnes/day of the municipal waste generated

in Mombasa County is being ‘formally’ managed. The majority of formally managed waste is

collected through a combination of formal and informal primary waste collection agents, taken to a

network of official collection points where it is evacuated by the County Government and dumped


Taken from forthcoming paper Mombasa: A Waste Characterisation Study, Palfreman et al (2015) 12

Estimated using data from UN World Urbanization Prospects data, (United Nations, 2014)




% Population





Per Capita




Tonnes (2015)

low 53.6 503,446 590,343 0.55 324.7


medium 23.9 224,613 302,458 0.89 269.2


high 22.5 211,311 211,199 1.33 280.9


Total 100 939,370 1,104,000 0.8* 875


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at three uncontrolled county dumpsites daily (see Figures 3 & 4). The Kibarani dumpsite, the largest

of county dumpsites, receives around 90% of this waste.

Solid waste that is not transported to official collection points or dumpsites is either dumped,

burned, or buried indiscriminately either by the waste generator themselves (household or

commercial entity) or, by any number of formal or informal collecting agents operating throughout

the County (see Table 2). This typically results in serious concerns over public or environmental

health, for example the degradation of the natural environment and associated health risks to the

human population of those living near sites where waste is inappropriately managed. Absent from

any official publications are indications of the proportion of waste being recycled or recovered for

re-use although it clear that waste is retrieved for recycling and selling at all stages of the solid

waste management process by the private/informal sector (see Figure 4).

Table 4. Community distribution by type of waste/garbage disposal Source: (Mombasa County

Government, 2013)

Method %

Burning 38.0

Public garbage heap 17.7

Garbage pit 15.4

Collected by Local Authority 11.1

Collected by private firms 10.2

Neighbourhood community

group 2.4

Farm garden 0.3

Figure 3. Municipal solid waste infrastructure in Mombasa County

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Figure 4. Waste Process flow diagram for Mombasa County indicating various activities and


Managing increasing amounts of solid waste presents a serious urban environmental challenge.

Even with policy measures in place like punitive charging or other economic instruments to reduce

the amounts of waste being produced across the County, generation rates are likely to increase

proportionate to population, exacerbated by increases in income-level. However, the ever present

issue of waste and what to do with it presents employment opportunities in terms of an increased

need for solid waste management services and through solid waste resource recovery.

2.3 Solid waste collection (waste transporters)

Waste management activities in Mombasa County like many cities across the region could best be

described as pluralistic. Waste collection services are highly decentralised and either delivered as

door-to-door or communal container collections, by a combination of – formal private waste

management companies, the County Government, CBOs, and informal actors, such as individual

waste pickers, many of whom are young people and predominantly male13

. The County

Government estimates that only around 25-30% of waste generated is collected through a paid-for

service. Door-to-door waste collection services are paid for almost entirely by user-fees collected by

individual operators. County Government expenditure on waste management goes largely towards

the bulk evacuation of waste from community collection points to the municipal dumpsites, street

sweeping and beautification. Waste collection services are often delivered in dispersed patterns

whereby collection agents pick out the most profitable clients, often those most able or willing to

pay. The extent to which households and businesses may be willing to pay for waste collection

services is determined by the perceived value the benefits of a waste collection service bring them

in terms of improved environmental and or public health – something that is persistently low all

over Kenya (Tukahirwa et al., 2013). Linked to this is the ability of households to pay for collection

services. A study of over 800 households from across Mombasa County revealed that more than


A survey of CBOs operating in the waste collection sub-sector revealed that on average over 85% of employees were

under the age of 35. The gender split observed was on average 2 males to every female.

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half of non-poor households reported engaging the services of a waste contractor compared to just

25% of poor households14


Box 2. Mombasa Coast Tourist Association: collective action on waste management

The tourist industry provides an example of collective response to nuisance caused through

environmental degradation as a result of poor solid waste management. Many of Mombasa’s

hotels engage the services of private waste management contractors to collect waste from their

premises. In addition, the Mombasa County Tourist Authority have organised monthly clean-up

operations along main routes to and from Mombasa airport though contributions from the tour

operators and hoteliers they represent.

Prices for service delivery tend to be set by market rules and as such waste collection services

are delivered at a range of price-points reflecting the socio-economic status of households, the size

of commercial activity, and/or the physical nature of the urban environment. In areas which suffer

from poor levels of essential infrastructure i.e. informal, unplanned settlements, waste collection

services are typically delivered using handcarts, which afford easy access to narrow lanes and have

lower operating costs which allow a waste collection service to be provided to the urban poor15

. As

such waste management activities in these areas represent employment and income generating

opportunities for some of the County’s poorest residents – and as such the sector’s poorest players.

On average the majority of residents may be prepared to pay between 20 and 50 Kenyan Shillings

(KES)/per week for waste collection services, with services delivered by MSMEs or CBOs charged

at an average of 200 KES/month. In contrast, in the lower-density, higher-income settlements,

households may pay around 2000/KES month, though these services are likely to be delivered by

larger private contractors operating trucks or side-loading waste collection vehicles.

In general the larger market players provide their services to different customer segments -

higher and middle income customers i.e. those with a greater ability to pay for services - leaving

smaller market players to service lower income customers. At the lower-end of the market there is

some evidence of internal competition e.g. CBOs and waste pickers delivering services to the same

customer segments, often servicing each other’s customers. There is limited regulation of these

informal activities, and as such market players receive limited support from County Government16


The majority of formal, Government waste collections service Mombasa Island and Mainland

North, with only around 10% of estimated waste generated in Mainland South and West being

collected by County Government trucks and disposed of at one of the municipal dumpsites. As such

there is considerable potential to increase the proportion of households and businesses receiving

waste collection services door-to-door, or to increase the level of collection from community

collection centres. This would not only reduce the amount of waste being disposed of

inappropriately, capturing more waste for recycling, valorisation and resource recovery, but also

provide the platform for the creation of hundreds of additional jobs.


WSP, 2007 15

This is particularly relevant to the urban poor, who may spend 80-90% income on food and rent (Dixon-Fyle, 2000). 16

Community-based organizations can however register with the Department of Social Services which gives them

recognition as a formal entity which affords some recognition as a ‘registered service provider’, though not as a

commercial business.

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Box 3. Growth in domestic waste collection services.

Projections for expansion of domestic waste collection services alone, based on manual, micro-

collection model could are represented in Table 3 below.

Table 3. Estimated number of full-time employees in household waste collection services.

Year Estimated





FTEs required

(+10% additional

households serviced)

FTEs required

(+20% additional

households serviced)

2015 1,127,000 4733400 208-311 415-623

2020 1,411,000 5926200 251-376 501-752

2025 1,775,000 7455000 315-473 630-946

These employment requirements for the two scenarios represent an increase in service

provision of an additional 10% and 20% of households respectively above the current provision

of 30% of all household and are predicated on no additional policy changes or market

interventions. They are based on the assumption that on average each person will generate

between 0.6kg and 0.9kg of solid waste per day on average (represented by low and high

estimates of number of jobs created); collections are carried out by handcarts that collect from

around 60 households per day, where each handcart is operated by two people; each household

would pay 30 KES per week, representing a weekly income of at least 3000KES/week per worker.

This also assumes overheads of around and profits to the operating ‘entity’ of between 10-20%.

For a detailed breakdown see Annex 1.

2.4 Solid waste resource recovery and valorisation

The majority of municipal waste produced in Mombasa is biodegradable waste with estimates

ranging from 48% (higher income residential to 76% (hotels)17

. Despite the predominance of

organic, biodegradable waste in the waste stream in Mombasa County there is significant potential

for value addition through resource recovery from other recyclable wastes such as plastics, metals

and paper. Although County by-laws make provision for recycling activities, the County

Government does not undertake any recycling activities itself, nor does it currently provide any

incentives to do so. As such recycling in Mombasa tends towards a private economic activity i.e. it

is driven by the market value of the waste material (as opposed to the avoidance of policy-driven

costs of disposal).


The density (volume) of waste in Mombasa is assumed to be high (i.e. 300-400kg per cubic metre) due to high proportion of

‘wet’ organic waste in the waste stream. The type and density of waste generated will also influence the management regime

and therefore employment potential.

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Table 5. Municipal solid waste composition of various waste generators across Mombasa County.

Source: Kuza Project, 2015 Waste Characterisation Study.

Research from UN-HABITAT suggests that the informal sector may already be recovering 15-

35% of generated waste in low and middle income cities18

. The recent Waste Characterisation

Study of Mombasa (Kuza Project, 2015) estimated that around 22% of the total municipal solid

waste produced in Mombasa had recycling potential, however interviews with stakeholders from

the private sector recycling industry indicate that just over 20 tonnes of waste per day, or around

2.5% of the estimated total municipal solid waste generated in Mombasa is actually recycled.

Plastics and paper-based waste are typically recovered far from source, either at the dumpsites or

community collection centres. As such recovery efficiency rates are estimated to be fairly low with

around 10 tonnes of the estimated 78 tonnes of paper waste and around 13 tonnes of an estimated

120 tonnes of plastic waste being produced in Mombasa actually being recovered for re-use19


Growth potential in recycling activities is influenced by both supply and demand-side factors.

The supply of valuable waste is governed by the efficiency of those sorting and separating waste,

whilst the demand for recyclable materials is determined by those processing waste further for use

in industrial or agricultural value chains, itself further influenced by global commodity and resource

markets. There is much potential for greater recycling of waste materials, through an expansion in

the provision of waste collection services as discussed above or through more coordinated attempts

at separating waste at source. A recent study reports a high proportion of residents living in

Mombasa showing willingness to separate waste at source, before collection – in excess of 80%

across a range of settlement types (Mbiba, 2014).

2.5 Waste sorting and separation

The recyclable supply chain reflects the composition of the various waste streams as influenced by:

Reach and efficiency of waste collection services – greater proportion of recyclable waste

entering the value chain.

Leakage in the value chain- sorted waste with resource recovery potential may still be dumped

or burned.

Urban infrastructure - such as waste collection points, dumpsites and condition of feeder


Seasonal variation - during the hotter/wetter months organic waste degrades more quickly,

often contaminating other source of waste that could have been recycled e.g. papers and


There is virtually no separation of waste at source. Most resource recovery activities are carried

out by players in the informal sector who often work ‘alongside’ formal waste management

systems. Manual sorting is carried out by the informal sector either by CBOs providing door-to-


UN-HABITAT, 2010. 19

Kuza Project, Waste Characterisation Study, 2015.

Proportion of total waste stream (%)

typology organic diapers glass metals paper plastics textiles

low-income 72.29 7.78 1.05 0.41 3.76 12.11 2.6

mid-income 72.3 9.74 1.07 0.52 3.81 10.81 1.75

high-income 48.41 5.12 3.41 1 19.61 19.02 3.44

Commercial 68.29 0.16 4.5 0.65 13.06 13.17 0.16

Hotels 76.67 0.16 3.63 0.65 10.18 8.42 0.3

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Sardinia 2015, Fifteenth International Waste Management and Landfill Symposium

door collection services, or by waste pickers operating at collection points, dumpsites, or riding

along in dumper trucks.

Around 500 young people depend on the recyclable waste arriving at these sites for their

livelihoods and it is important to note that although resource rich waste ends up at the dumpsite for

formal disposal, it is through the actions of these informal players that waste is returned to the value

chain for resource recovery. More often than not these are young men aged between 6 and 18, who

pick through waste with the sole purpose of selling recyclables for a profit, though often with

negative health and safety outcomes. The efficiency of recovering valued material in this way varies

greatly but provides a valuable source of income for some of the poorest players operating in the

sector. Both the County Government and citizens of Mombasa County also receive significant

environmental benefits from these activities through the conservation of resource and avoidance of

disposal at a likely lower cost than could be provided formally20


2.6 Recycling and waste processing

On the demand-side, there appears to be latent local demand for plastics, metals, glass and other

recyclables although some market players complain about the lack of co-ordination for recycling

activities and the absence of locally based input companies requiring certain materials i.e. hard

plastics. Much of the traded recyclable waste is bought by middlemen for further processing outside

of the county resulting in leakages in the value chain locally. Local market values for recyclables

are determined by the quality, cleanliness, and overheads associated with the transportation of

materials from the point of origin (or separation) to the buyer. Proximity to one of the recycling

‘middlemen’ (or other waste buyers) is likely to guarantee better access to recycling markets and

lower transaction costs, particularly for smaller market players who lack transportation21

. Market

prices for recyclables range from 3-6KES/kg for paper and cardboard; 15 KES/kg for plastics

(polythene); and 10-20 KES/kg for hard plastics i.e. bottles; up to 90 KES/kg for metals.

Processing of recyclable waste is less common within the County, such that most smaller market

players sell ‘raw’ waste on to middlemen or others in the recycling industry for further processing

and entry into industrial value chains outside of the County. A handful of local private sector

organisations buy plastic (polythene) waste directly from waste pickers and other collection agents

and are willing to collect waste plastics from which they manufacturer plastic bags and sheeting.

Industry standards regarding the quality of ‘raw’ waste exist but are not transparent, typically being

discussed with sellers during a transaction.

There has been some discussion around, and previous investment in, local waste processing

plants. A small plastic waste processing/recycling facility was established in Jomvu Jitoni by the

Mombasa Integrated Solid Waste Management Partnership – an umbrella organisation representing

many of the County’s waste management CBOs. Although completed in 2011 the plant has never

been in operation due to a number of outstanding constraints (see Box 4 below). A further attempt

was made to establish a recycling plant at Mtwapa, Kilifi County. Land and a building was acquired

but again, the site has never become operational where there were problems in the supply chain for

(sorted) waste materials.

The County Government, in its County Integrated Development Plan (2013-17), indicates that it

is prioritising the construction of a recycling plant in the Mwakirunge area by 2015. This plant

would provide a space for collection and sorting of wastes and further processing directly

employing 100 young people and providing a market for trading in recyclables for up to 20 youth



Scheinberg et al. 2011 21

The price paid for recyclable materials can be considerably lower where buyers collect the materials from those

sorting and separating waste.

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Sardinia 2015, Fifteenth International Waste Management and Landfill Symposium

Box 4. Mombasa Integrated Solid Waste Management Partnership recycling plant, Jomvu Jitoni.

This recycling plant was commissioned and constructed in 2010/11and funded by the DANIDA

through the Kenyan Community Development Trust Fund. The centre has the potential to directly

employ 10-20 persons in processing waste for valorisation, and provide a centre for aggregating

and sorting municipal waste. The small factory houses plastic crushing and pelletising machines

capable of processing around 4 tonnes of plastic per day. Processing raw waste in this way has the

potential to increase the value of plastic by two to three times, from 18KES/kg to 50-60KES/kg.

The intention is to bring many partner organisations e.g. CBOs and individual waste pickers

together to use the facility and reduce operating and transaction costs.

However, due to a number of outstanding key constraints –political interference22

, high

operating costs, poor accessibility, poor connections to mains services and markets – the operation

has failed to attract any additional investment to begin operation. For example, both the plant’s

operators and smaller market players collecting waste cite the cost of transporting sorted or

unsorted waste to the site as a major barrier to the plant operating. A connection to the mains

power grid was only recently established (early 2014) and one bore hole on site represents the only

source of water – a steady supply of which is needed to operate the plant machinery. Additionally

an operator’s licence of 40,000KES/annum is required from the NEMA. Although the demand for

such a facility is evident, a number of key supply-side issues do not seem to have been adequately

considered at the project planning stage.

2.7 Waste valorisation

Waste valorisation is the process of converting waste materials into useful products. There are a

number of products that are currently produced from waste materials in Mombasa County


2.7.1 Compost

With high proportion of biodegradable waste in the waste stream composting is an obvious activity

though requires land, practical knowledge, and time to turn biodegradable-waste into saleable

compost. Biodegradable waste also needs to be separated out as early as possible in the waste cycle

i.e. at source. Compost fetches around 30 KES/kg on the open market depending on the quality

though is often used directly in urban farming or horticultural practices – with incomes derived

from plant or food sales. There are some doubts over the environmental sustainability of

composting where not carried out in a controlled environment.


Tan, 2012

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2.7.2 Charcoal briquettes

These products are typically handmade and sold locally for profit. Charcoal briquettes can be used

as replacement for charcoal for cooking, but vary in quality, often having a much lower calorific

value and less efficiency than charcoal. They sell for between 30-50 KES/kilo.

2.7.3 Handicrafts

Handicrafts such as shopping bags weaved from recovered plastics are generally well-made and

designed though are currently mainly marketed door-to-door, often by CBOs who sell back to the

households they collect waste from.

Most of the activities listed above tend to occur at small-scale, local level. The most active

players in this sub-sector are CBOs who often engage in a diverse range of activities to provide

greater income generating potential. Although some of the activities from those operating at the

lower-end of the market show some promise in terms of entrepreneurship, much of the innovation

appears to have been spurred and supported by a previous donor’s interest in the sector – DANIDA

through the Kenyan Community Development Trust Fund. In general, waste valorisation activities

have not been successfully taken to scale and there is some doubt over the scalability of some of the

products. Further research is needed to identify the feasibility of developing and strengthening

waste valorisation value chains.

2.8 Waste disposal

Even in the most efficient integrated waste management system there is will still be a need to

dispose of some residual waste, preferably in a sanitary manner. As a supporting function to the

value chain, eventual disposal is currently ‘officially’ carried out at one of two ‘official’ waste

dumping sites in operation at the Kibarani and Mwakirunge dumpsites23

. These landfill sites are

well-used both by private waste contractors and County Government dump trucks although

management of these sites does not reflect best practice in environmental stewardship. These sites

are unfenced and uncontrolled such that it is not possible to monitor the amount of waste being

dumped at each site. Waste is wind blown beyond the boundaries and along access roads where it

falls off trucks transporting the waste from the City. In general waste is not carefully managed,

either being burned openly or allowed to decompose in an uncontrolled manner proposing serious

environmental risks to air and water quality. The NEMA have initiated court proceedings against

the County in respect of infringements of waste disposal licensing laws, though are currently

tolerating the continued use of these sites until suitable alternatives have been located24


The dumpsites themselves support many individual livelihoods, mainly where waste pickers are

making a living from sorting and selling recyclable material. These are informal activities which are

currently tolerated, despite Mombasa County by-laws forbidding unauthorised access to the

dumpsites. The County Government employs a handful of staff to manage and monitor the activities

at the Kibirani dumpsite. At Mwakirunge waste pickers themselves organise and manage the

dumper trucks arriving at the site so as to distribute the benefits of retrieving valuable waste

between themselves. Fees are charged for disposing of waste at these sites with remittances from

the Kibarani dumpsite being collected by the County Government whilst at the Mwakirunge site are

retained by those managing the site.


A third site at Shonda Quarry has more recently been used by the County Government to dump waste. Its location,

some 10kms south of Likoni makes it a convenient location to dispose of waste emanating from the south coast side of

Mombasa. 24

A feasibility study funded by ADF in 2004 recommended enhancing Mwakirunge dumpsite and establishing a new

sanitary landfill to the south of Mombasa.

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There are also around 90 community collection points across the city, often on privately-owned

land which have grown over time and become part of the urban landscape. The V.O.K25

site in

Nyali is one such site where a dozen of so waste pickers sort through waste for resale. Although

actively managed by the County Government, service provision varies from location to location. At

many of the larger, more central collection centres County dumper trucks stationed here and used to

transport waste on to the main dumpsites. Other local dumpsites are not managed in this way, and

waste is left to accumulate, being evacuated on a weekly, bi-monthly, or often monthly basis.

Exploring alternative options for eventual waste disposal has been considered by both the public

and private sector over the last ten years at various scales with some innovative proposals having

been discussed. At least one CBO has designed and built a small Jiko burner (incinerator) which is

predominantly used to burn waste from 250 households and 15 commercial properties. Incineration

is a regulated activated currently licensed by NEMA although in integrated waste management

terms may be less desirable than recycling or reuse. Ultimately, reducing the amount of waste

requiring disposal at a dumpsite represents the greatest potential for job creation up-stream through

expanded waste collection, sorting, and resource recovery activities.

2.9 Waste to energy

Exploring alternative methods of eventually disposing of waste is likely to be necessary for

Mombasa County given the scarcity of available land and environmental and social dis-benefits of

continuing to operate existing, uncontrolled landfills. Some innovative proposals for recovering

energy from waste have been put forward by the private sector. The Bamburi Cement Plant is

investigating the use of alternative fuels in their cement kilns and are currently investigating the

viability of pre-processing solid waste for use as a fuel. The environmental and social value of

utilising waste in this manner is generally favoured over landfill/incineration, though requires closer

scrutiny. The cement industry claim that using municipal waste for energy has the potential to

reduce the amount of waste going to landfill by up to 80% and create employment directly at pre-

treatment plants whilst stimulating additional demand for combustible waste. This could provide an

incentive for developing more efficient collection systems and therefore generating additional

employment opportunities.

2.10 Street sweeping and beautification

Street sweeping, landscaping and beautification all represent supporting functions of those involved

in the waste market system. They represent market systems in their own right and support the

livelihoods of hundreds of individuals across the public, private, and informal sectors in Mombasa

County. The County Government employs upwards of 200 full-time employees for street sweeping

activities largely on Mombasa Island. Waste pickers may also informally carry out street sweeping

or ‘volunteer’ around the County’s formal neighbourhood collection points, helping to load waste

onto tipper trucks, in order to sort through the waste to recover valuable material which they sell on

to earn a livelihood. Much of the employment in beautification is carried out under contract

between waste management companies or CBOs and the public sector i.e. Mombasa County

Government or Kenya Ports Authority. Teams of casual labourers, many of whom are young

women, work in the City’s parks or along main roads, picking waste and tidying the appearance of

the urban landscape.

25‘Voice of Kenya’ on account of the site’s proximity to the former Kenya Broadcasting Corporation offices.

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This analysis starts from the viewpoint that waste is a resource or input to a value chain which

supports a number of employment and income generating activities such as resource recovery and

valorisation. These steps are supported by a number of functions or services such as waste

collection and sorting. The source of the waste entering the value chain varies from the waste

generator (i.e. households, commercial properties, hotels etc.) to municipal collection points or

dumpsites from which waste is recovered. By analysing the sector in terms of its value chain, one

highlights the interdependencies between the different functions and services in the waste

management cycle. The output is the supply of value-added products which re-enter the industrial

or agricultural value chains i.e. processed plastics for recycling, compost for farm inputs. This view

also implies that a number of these supporting functions are market systems in their own right i.e.

waste collection services, beautification.

Inputs(raw waste / demand for



Resource recovery


ProcessingWholesale /


Supporting FunctionsPrivate Sector Government

Consulting, audit (M & E), technical

support/extension services

Research & development

(market, technical)

Laws, policy: taxation, trade, environmental &

labour regulations, polluter-pays-principle


Representative Bodies

Standards: local, international,

ethical, private (service delivery

and quality standards)

Gender dynamics (imbalances)

Civil Society

Infrastructure, technology


Financial services & investment

Socio-cultural rules, dynamics:

attitude to education & work,

religious norms, conflict

Skills & training

Collection, sorting, disposal

Informal norms: trust, motivation, community-

values, cartels, corruption (political






Information (public sensitisation)

Figure 5. Market system value chain for solid waste management

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3.1 Sector structure

Having mapped out the core value chain for the waste management system the supporting

functions, rules and norms, and system players are now subject to a more detailed analysis to

identify gaps or weaknesses in value chain performance.

3.2 Support functions

Supporting functions represent any function of the market system which supports the core

transaction, or value chain.

3.2.1 Information exchange

In order to allow the solid waste market to function efficiently, costs must be minimised including

social and environmental costs associated with poorly managed solid waste. Ultimately by reducing

the amounts of waste produced or the amounts of waste requiring landfill, greater value can be

added through the value chain resource recovery, recycling, or effective re-use of residual waste.

Where information is exchanged freely and equitably the amount and composition of material

entering the waste stream can be monitored, which in turn allows for monitoring and evaluation,

(price) signals to the market to be reflected accurately, and the ability to communicate the value of

waste as a resource to all players within the market system, particularly to the waste producers.

Public sensitisation to the perils and potentials of properly managed waste can then be used to effect

a cultural shift in how solid waste is perceived by consumers, driving up demand for waste

management services to create more employment.

3.2.2 Coordination

The County Government is mandated to coordinate the management of solid waste across the

County through the implementing of County by-laws. Currently there is no comprehensive strategic

framework coordinating the activities of all players in the sector active in the collecting, processing,

and eventually disposing of various sources of waste. Responsibility for servicing different

customers and locations across the County has been largely set by market rules. Greater

coordination in a waste management market system can allow greater efficiencies to be realised,

greater coverage of service provision, and increased value-added to waste material as it is captured,

early in the waste cycle, leading to greater opportunities for employment and income generation.

3.2.3 Advocacy

Some of the better informed and organised CBOs engage in advocacy that has resulted in changes

to County Government by-laws governing waste management - specifically relaxing rules around

the involvement of CBOs in waste management activities. Greater bottom-up participation in the

policy making process is not only a sign of a stronger democratic tradition, but also pre-cedes

demand-driven expansion of waste management services/supply-side increase in raw, valuable


3.2.4 M&E/auditing

Monitoring and Evaluation of solid waste management generation, recycling and disposal rates, and

the provision of environmental monitoring services such as Environmental Audits are carried out by

Mombasa County Government and NEMA. The extent to which these organisations have the

capacity to effectively monitor the flow and composition of municipal waste, without which greater

efficiency and growth in the market system cannot be realised, is constrained by institutional


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3.2.5 Skills development

Although many employment opportunities in the sector are low-skilled, there is scope for enhancing

technical skills in the proper and effective management of various types of solid waste. Local

formal options for skills development exist in the form of undergraduate and postgraduate courses

in Environmental Management from Mombasa’s Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and

Technology. Training in integrated solid waste management techniques have previously been

facilitated by a local community-based organisation, the Mombasa Integrated Solid Waste

Management Partnership funded by the Community Development Trust Fund (an EU-funded

initiative). This has included training in waste management and valorisation techniques i.e. charcoal

briquette manufacturing. Many smaller players lack the business planning, financial management

and occupational health and safety skills to allow them to successfully scale and optimise their


3.2.6 Research and development

Innovation in the sector has historically focussed on low-tech advancements in waste valorisation.

For example, weaving of baskets from discarded plastic (polythene) bags for re-sale, or developing

small-scale urban agricultural systems utilising biodegradable waste as compost. There may be

room for greater green innovation in the sector though there is currently no evidence of specific

local policies or programmes for fostering innovation within the sector, in either product

development or service provision. From a policy perspective innovation remains highly centralised

although there is provision for direct assistance to SMEs as well as potential for establishing

County-level offices specialising in innovation. The Kenya Industrial Research & Development

Institute has a mandate to facilitate technology transfer to SMEs, with some SWM-related

initiatives already having been developed. Additionally, the National Commission for Science,

Technology and Innovation and Kenya National Innovation Agency also promise to manage the

innovation system, institutionalising linkages between the public and private sector.

Innovation and growth in the green economy can yield positive results for the waste management

value chain (and interconnected market systems) which may be saturated, particularly where the

demand for better waste management services is constrained by an inability/unwillingness to pay

i.e. a need for alternative incentives/business models.

3.2.7 Infrastructure and technology

Spatial distribution of land for waste management activities is uneven which limits accessibility and

increases transport costs. Where land has been allocated inefficiently, there are threats to

environmental and public health. Mombasa County is predominantly urban and as such land

availability is scarce, particularly for lower ‘value’ land uses such as sites for waste disposal i.e.

Landfill sites. An abundance of low-tech solutions to waste management, although this largely

focuses on the bulk evacuation of waste from source to disposal with little value added by many of

the market players. In the past international donor funding has been used for the purchase of

handcarts and other equipment for a number of CBOs operating in the County. The absence of a

local recycling plant is cited as a consideration for the lack of value-addition within Mombasa

County by some players - waste collectors e.g. private sector waste management companies and


3.2.8 Financial services

Access to finance for many of the smaller/poorest players operating in the sector often comes from

Savings and Credit Cooperative Organisations (SACCOs) which are prevalent across Kenya.

SACCOs can provide valuable micro-financing to those operating in sector e.g. for the purchase of

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equipment. Micro-Finance Institutions and banks also provide financing for some players although

access to finance may be available to registered entities only, i.e. limited companies. The SME Act

(2012) makes provision for a fund for entrepreneurship which could potentially be accessed by

SMEs through the Department of Trade. Mombasa County has yet to develop policies to promote

and develop support to SMEs. Several international donors have been active across the sector in

Mombasa County investing in training, waste collection equipment, and recycling plant. This has

tended to be short-term and developed a dependency amongst some players whose business

activities have relied on this finance. Some larger private sector organisations have made resources

available through CSR initiatives, though these are generally short-term and involve assistance in


3.2.9 Collection, sorting, storage of waste

These supporting services facilitate value added through the core of the waste management value

chain described here (although they can also be thought of as interrelated market systems in their

own right). The longer term performance of the core market is determined to a great extent by the

effectiveness of these interconnected market systems. For example, low demand for waste

collection services will result in weak supply of recyclable waste to the core value chain, and by

definition greater take-up in waste collection services the greater potential for creating employment

The earlier in the waste cycle that valuable waste is recovered the greater potential for adding value,

whilst creating more jobs than concentrating solely on bulk evacuation of waste for eventual

disposal – the current focus of much of the waste management activities in Mombasa County.

3.3 Rules and norms

Rules and norms of a market system determine how the core transaction or function operates and

determines the ways in which individual market players/stakeholders act within the market system.

Rules and norms can either be formal e.g. legislation, policies etc, or informal e.g. culture or social


3.3.1 Legislation

In general there is considerable cross over between individual pieces of legislation and regulations

governing solid waste management in Mombasa, such that responsibility for managing waste is not

well defined often being shared between different authorities. Decentralisation measures brought

about through devolution of power to County Governments in 2013 have left a situation where there

is no clear policy guidance from National to Local on implementing waste management measures.

There are several pieces of legislation that give powers to County Governments and the NEMA

in respective of the control of waste, delivery of waste management operations, and regulation of

technologies and procedures for example, the Environmental Management and Co-ordination Act

(EMCA), 1999 and the Environment Impact (Assessment and Auditing) regulations, 2003. The

Urban Areas and Cities Act, 2011 states that every city and municipality shall produce an integrated

development plan which shall-contribute to the protection and promotion of the fundamental rights

and freedoms and the progressive realization of the socio-economic rights which include the right to

housing; and be the basis for overall delivery of service including provision of water, electricity,

health, telecommunications and solid waste management (see section on Policy below). The County

Government Act, 2012 and Public Finance Management Act, 2012 reinforce the County the

budgeting process to start with the integrated development plan for the County. Mombasa County

has recently commissioned an integrated development plan (January 2014) with assistance from the

Japanese International Cooperation Agency. The preparation of this document is likely to take

between 18-36 months, but would make provision for the planning and appropriation of land for the

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purposes of solid waste management and the delivery of the provision of solid waste collection

services. It is not clear where the strategic direction for waste management comes from in the

absence of the integrated development plan.

Under the Public Procurement and Disposal Preference and Reservations Amendment

Regulations, 2013 youth, women and people with disability can theoretically access 30% of

Government Tenders, for example waste management or beautification contracts let by the County

Government or KPA. To qualify businesses must be registered and comprise 70% youth members

and 100% youth management. Although potentially a very powerful and positive driver for

enhanced youth employment opportunities, the initiative has come under criticism from some where

the procurement opportunities advertised under this scheme are often said to represent smaller value

contracts only i.e. 30% of the number of contracts as opposed to 30% of the value of a Ministry’s

budget. In addition there are further policy and legal instruments that govern investment and

procurement in the sector: Public Private Partnership Act, No. 15 of 2013, and Public Procurement

Disposal (Public Private Partnership) Regulations 2009.

3.3.2 Regulations

The Environmental Management and Co-ordination (Waste Management) Regulations, 2006 are

meant to streamline the handling, transportation and disposal of various types of waste and are

designed to ensure the protection of human health and the environment. The regulations place

emphasis on waste minimisation, cleaner production and segregation of waste at source though no

sign of these being implemented. Under the Waste Management Regulations, NEMA licenses

transporters, incinerators, landfills, composers, recyclers and transfer stations. Licences that must be

obtained include: Waste transporters/collectors licence at a cost of 5000 KES per annum (regardless

of the size of your operation); Waste treatment licence (e.g. recycling/composting) at 40,000 KES

per annum; Waste disposal licence (e.g. incineration/landfill) at 75,000 KES per annum. Cost of

obtaining these licenses can be prohibitive to many small players e.g. (informal) waste pickers or

CBOs/youth groups.

The Mombasa County Environmental Management by-laws 2008 set out County level objectives

for environmental management so as to ‘ensure environmental accountability and social

responsibility of all waste generators, waste managers and service providers’. They incorporate the

principles of integrated solid waste management practices, seeking to maximise resource recovery,

and to minimise adverse impacts on environmental and public health arising from the management

of waste. Provision is made for private sector involvement in waste management within ‘authorized


’ and mandatory separation of waste at source. It is an offence to dump waste

indiscriminately and written permission for any person to enter the County Government’s refuse

dumping ground. Although comprehensive and wide-ranging these by-laws are poorly enforced

such that both licensed and unlicensed operators can be found operating across the County.

The draft Mombasa County Finance Bill proposes flat rate charging of 200KES/month per

household for waste management fees, though does not state explicitly how this would be spent.

This draft Bill has provoked fervent reaction from the public.

3.3.3 Policy

There is currently no national waste management plan for Kenya that provides national policy

guidance on proper management of solid waste. Although the draft County Integrated Development

Plan (2013-17) has several references to solid waste management (including budget proposals) it

does not articulate a clear policy framework for the management of solid waste. The Ministry of


Authorized Zone’ refers to sites officially reserved for waste management activities i.e. the Kibirani and Mwakirunge


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Environment and Water Resources have indicated a desire to prepare specific solid waste

management policy for the County, although in the absence of any national guidance on best

practice on environmental protection and strategic waste management planning, there is a risk that

the County Government produces policy that is inconsistent with any emerging national waste

policy. Equally though, this cold be an opportunity for Mombasa County to be a frontrunner in

describing at the County-level what strategic waste management policy could look like.

3.3.4 Standards

Technical guidelines for the proper handling and disposal of both solid and liquid waste are few and

far between aside from those set out in the National EMCA or local by-laws. Locally, standards

exist for waste management operations carried out within Kenya Ports Authority land. Firms

bidding for opportunities in waste management contracts through the KPA are therefore required to

demonstrate technical competency against these standards. In the recycling industry there are often

local standards to ensure the quality, cleanliness, and re-use potential of recovered waste which in

turn affects the price paid for waste products. There is a general lack of transparency over these

standards which allow buyers to negotiate prices for waste products on an individual basis. Through

existing waste to energy initiatives Bamburi Cement are capable of disposing of various forms of

solid and liquid waste in their cement kilns. Any exchange value of the materials is set by standards

that reflect the calorific value/quality of the materials and circumstances under which they


3.3.5 Informal norms, socio-cultural rules and dynamics

There may be significant resistance to involving oneself in waste management activities due to

negative socio-cultural perceptions of waste particularly amongst indigenous communities who

practice Islam. Willingness to pay for or engage the services of a private waste contractor may be

constrained by an individual’s perception of waste as a priority in terms of public/environmental

health or as a valuable resource. The majority of residents or local businesses may have regard

waste management as a low priority. The role of village elders/local chiefs or other community

leaders in supporting and enforcing solid waste management activities should not be

underestimated. There is evidence of traditional influence encouraging greater take up of waste

management activities at the local level. There is potentially also a big advantage to being a local

resident in gaining access to customers, particularly where local waste collectors service residents

that they know personally.

Waste pickers operating at the two municipal dumpsites are well-organised along the lines of

traditional village hierarchy. The rules by which these groups operate are not well understood

though the behaviour resembles that of a ‘cartel’, influencing the behaviour of other players such as

private waste contractors who pay for the privilege of dumping waste at the Mwakirunge dumpsite.

Violence and unrest along ethnic and tribal lines has emerged as a feature of the coastal region.

Civil unrest, particularly in lower and middle income settlements of the County have the potential to

disrupt the delivery of municipal services and threaten the safety and security of young people

operating in these areas. Security issues may also detract potential investors. Waste collection as an

occupation is predominantly carried out by males, which may be a reflection of the physical nature

of the work, particularly where the work itself is manual in nature. For example, the ratio of male to

female in CBOs active in waste management is approximately 2:1. That said, many women’s

groups and other CBOs active in the sector have a high proportion of female members - many of the

valorisation activities e.g. handicraft production, urban farming; beautification are championed by

young women.

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3.4 System actor performance

The profile and performance of the various system players is examined below in the context of

youth employment. This analysis identifies how they currently do business, the relationships they

have with other market players, and the clarity of their particular role within the waste management

system. System actors can be broadly defined as either formal i.e. motivated by either social or

environmental gains in the proper management of solid waste and/or the economic benefits to

themselves in participating in the sector; or informal i.e. principally motivated by income derived

from waste management activities e.g. Livelihood.

3.5 Formal system players

3.5.1 Mombasa County Government

Mombasa County Government are mandated with managing solid waste across the County as a core

public service – implemented largely by the Ministry of Environment, Water, and Natural

Resources, though the Ministry for Land, Housing, & Urban Development also important in terms

of facilitating land allocation. They are a relatively new administration, power devolved to the

County Governments in March 2013. Main activities include the bulk transportation of solid waste;

street sweeping; beautification and horticulture; regulation, monitoring and enforcement of waste

management activities across the County – for which approximately 500 persons are employed.

There is currently no County-wide strategic solid waste management strategy and inter-

ministerial cooperation is clearly required though it is unclear how effective this is currently. A

budget of 1.6bn KES was declared for solid waste management in 2013/14 although there is no

central/dedicated budget for waste management activities i.e. staff costs fall under Min.

Environment budgets, whilst vehicles and transportation of waste fall under Transport &

Infrastructure budget. The County Government ha limited capacity for managing even the bulk

evacuation of waste with a comprehensive waste evacuation service only being delivered to

Mombasa Island, with a less frequent service provided to the mainland areas of Mombasa County.

Monitoring and enforcement of County by-laws and other regulations is also weak – e.g.

indiscriminate dumping of waste visible all over the County. Though some flexible application of

regulations in recognition of the role that informal players play in the sector. There have been

allegations in the press citing the relationship between private sector waste contracts and key

County Government figures which may negatively affect performance of the solid waste

management system in Mombasa i.e. Cronyism.

3.5.2 The National Environment Management Authority (NEMA)

NEMA is the custodian of environmental legislation designed to manage and mitigate against any

environmental impacts from solid waste management strategies or activities across Kenya. They

licence individual operators for the transport (including collection), processing and disposal of

waste (including dumpsites and incineration facilities). They also suffer from a lack of resources

and as such are unable to monitor waste management activities across Mombasa County effectively.

There is some cross-over of responsibility between NEMA and the County Government and despite

attempts to create a more harmonious working relationship conflict has arisen with Mombasa

County Government, for example over the refusal to licence the Kibarani dumpsite for poor

environmental performance, resulting in court action being raised by NEMA against the County

Government in this respect.

Licensing activities are fragmented such that waste transporters licences are processed locally,

whilst waste disposal licences dealt with through the National NEMA office.

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3.5.3 Donors

UN agencies such as UNEP and ILO and the French (AFD), German (GIZ) and Danish (DANIDA)

development agencies have all previously shown interest and support in the waste management

sector in Mombasa. A feasibility study into enhancing waste management was funded by AFD

around 2008 although no practical intervention followed. Attempts to stimulate green

entrepreneurship in Mombasa have resulted in training and skills development in green economic

activities for young people (UNEP, ILO). e.g. innovation competitions for young business people.

3.5.4 Kenya Ports Authority

A parastatal with overall responsibility for managing the activities of Mombasa Port, including

responsibility for all solid waste management activities in and around the port complex. A Green

Ports Initiative will purportedly see more integrated waste managed activities on-site, including

sorting and separating. KPA estimate that approximately 20% of solid waste produced in Mombasa

County originates at the port.

The KPA currently contract out all of the port’s SWM activities to private-sector contractors

though all waste is currently processed off-site with no evidence of separation of waste at source.

Some Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and environmental management initiatives are funded

by the KPA which directly benefit smaller players such as CBOs e.g. contracting local CBOs to

landscape and manage Uhuru Gardens, public park on Mombasa Island. The KPA is potentially a

large employer of youth though there may be resistance towards employing youth or youth groups

directly and certainly some hesitation towards engaging informal sector players.

3.5.4 Bamburi Cement Limited

This cement company based at Bamburi, north of Mombasa Island is owned and operated by the

Lafarge Group – a French aggregates company employing 65,000 people worldwide. Bamburi

Cement Ltd signed an MOU in 2014 with Mombasa County Government to develop a solid waste

management system for the County – a waste to energy solution. An investment of KES 4.8bn has

been put forward by the company - KES2.8 billion to fund a feasibility study plus KES2bn donated

in kind (land available for waste processing activities). The company have stressed that their

expectation is for the County Government (or partners) to put forward a solution for a

comprehensive waste collection system, leaving them to concentrate on developing the business

case for a waste pre-treatment facility that will allow them to use the County’s biodegradable waste

as a fuel in their cement kilns. Donor funding would be sought for additional investment in the


3.5.5 Private sector waste collection companies

Several profit-motivated, medium-large scale registered companies deliver waste collection services

to commercial customers (offices, hotels etc.) and higher-income residential areas across Mombasa.

These companies may also be involved in some beautification and cleaning activities, though

currently no recycling of the waste they collect takes place, although many have the capacity to

separate and sort waste. The market is currently dominated by one player in Mombasa:

KeenKleeners who employ up to 500 staff and were originally the waste management agent for

Mombasa Municipal County (est.2000) though now work across several counties in Kenya. Sixty

percent of KeenKleeners employees are on short-term contracts reflecting the contract nature of the

services. Keen Kleeners charge on average 1700 KES/month to service the higher-income

neighbourhood of Nyali, Tudor, Kizingo Estates.

These organisation directly employ (unskilled) young people and provide training in waste

management activities, though there is some resentment towards smaller market players –

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particularly unregistered businesses that don’t pay taxes. Allegations of strong political allegiances

between key County Government figures and the largest private sector waste collection companies

are frequently found in the local press.

3.5.6 Recycling/waste processing companies

There are a number of local, national, and international players in the recycling industry servicing

Mombasa, although on the whole material is bought and sold from Mombasa with little actual

processing taking place in Mombasa County. One local plastics (polythene) manufacturer exists on

Mombasa Island who buy used plastics wholesale (i.e. by ton weight) to use in their manufacturing

processes. There is evidence of failed attempts to establish local recycling enterprises: e.g.

Mombasa Plastic Recycling Company initiated the project in Mombasa North, and the Jomvu Jitoni

recycling plant to the west of the County though neither have never been in operation due to poor

access/infrastructure which has created problems in the supply chain.

3.5.6 SMEs

These players are smaller companies who provide SWM collection services; street sweeping and

beautification, usually on a contract basis. They are often former or existing CBOs who have

formalised their activities and registered formally as a company, employing typically between 10-

150 employees and are generally managed and staffed by young people - a high proportion of

employees are casual staff who are taken on if contracts are won. These groups tend to be well

organised with staff skilled and trained in different aspects of waste management as well as clerical

and administrative activities. Competition is high with scores of other registered SMEs tendering

for contracts from the public sector (Mombasa County Government, KPA) or the private sector e.g.

hotels. Companies expect to win around 10% of the contracts for which they tender. Young people

are often employed unskilled and trained on the job, often having the opportunity to progress.

Growth in the demand for SMEs waste management services is constrained by competition in the

sector, a lack of innovation and weak marketing strategies.

3.5.7 Community-based organisations

Around thirty youth groups currently operating in the waste management sector (out of a total of

130 registered in the County). The CBO groups largely provide door-to-door collection services but

also landscaping/beautification; resource recovery; self-help; handicrafts; arts; peace-building. On

average no more than 30% of CBO membership are female, though this often reflects the scope of

activities undertaken by the group. Solid waste collection tends to be male-dominated due to the

manual nature of the work. CBOs that provide waste collection services typically to lower and

middle-income settlements and may collect from households and occasionally commercial

premises. They all charge around 20 KES/visit for household waste collection (200 KES/month).

Smaller groups may service around 30 houses a month – larger groups up to 1000 households.

CBOs wishing to operate in the sector can be formally recognised (and therefore able to become

licensed) with a letter of support from Department of Social Services within the Ministry of Gender,

Sports and Social Services.

CBOs are by no means homogeneous and as such have varying degrees of influence, presence

and experience of operating in the sector. They are generally very tolerant of each other’s presence

often providing waste management services in close proximity to one another, though rarely

coordinate their activities. The groups are often motivated by environmental or social goals first,

profit second, though many engage in recycling or valorisation of waste materials and tend to have

a relationship with the recycling players, though typically they would sell to informal middlemen

buyers (see below). Many CBOs use SACCOs as a means of saving and raising finances for

expanding their waste management activities.

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3.5.8 The Mombasa Integrated Solid Waste Management Partnership (MISWMP)

The MISWMP is an umbrella group that acts as an advocacy agent for around thirty CBOs

operating in the sector. They are active in the sector at the grass roots level, campaigning for

improved access to (labour) markets and enhanced landfill facilities and also provide a SACCO for

group members. The group was established through the Community Development Trust Fund

which provided donor funding, technical training, and other support to CBOs on proper waste

handling, and to establish a recycling plant at Jomvu Jitoni – see above.

3.5.9 Savings and Credit Cooperative Organisations (SACCOs)

SACCOs provide a savings vehicle that promotes the welfare and economic interests of its

members, and provide a source of soft loans and reasonable rates of interest. Many of the Mombasa

CBOs utilise SACCOs as a means of saving and re-investing in their waste management activities.

SACCOs provide a crucial source of finance for MSMEs who may not be eligible for more

mainstream sources of financing, such as banks. Despite best intentions though there is some

evidence of CBO groups borrowing money for investment purposes and misappropriating loans or

defaulting on them.

3.5.10 Village Elders and Local Chiefs

Traditional community leaders provide governance at the local level, though may not always

objectively represent their ‘constituents’. Often village elders may influence the local populace to

take-up waste management services, and have also been known to mobilise CBOs/youth groups to

manage waste in areas under their jurisdiction. Village chiefs often act as mediators between

CBOs/youth groups collecting waste and County Government waste officials demanding payment

for dumping/tipping fees. Local chiefs may also be in a position to access the Constituency

Development Fund, to provide grants for local groups interested in delivery local services such as

solid waste management.

3.5.11 Waste generators/users

Any person or organisation that produces solid waste - citizens, public and private sector

organisations, the business community, and visitors to Mombasa County. Mombasa County’s solid

waste generation rates will grow proportionate to the number of people living, working and visiting

the County. In addition, Mombasa County is actually an importer of solid waste due to Sea Port’s

activities. Solid waste management services are often seen as a public good by waste generators and

as such there may be considerable resistance from users who do not currently pay (directly) for

SWM services to change to a system where user-fees are mandatory. The majority of households in

Mombasa rent their properties, so where there is an inability of the household to pay, landlord may

have the ability to pay. Public sensitisation of the benefits of proper waste management is also low.

e.g. little separation of waste at source despite requirement in County by-laws.

3.6 Informal sector actors

3.6.1 Waste pickers

Waste pickers can be defined as any person making a living collecting, sorting, recycling, selling

materials that someone else has thrown away’27

. Waste pickers work either as individuals or loosely

coordinated as informal collectives collecting directly from the source of waste generation e.g.


Achtell, 2013

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households, commercial premises, or, municipal collection points across the County. A distinction

should be made between itinerant waste pickers i.e. those with no fixed address/place of work, and

those waste pickers who are based at one of the County dumpsites.

Itinerant waste pickers tend to operate informally and are extremely unlikely to have a waste

transporters licence. Waste pickers tend to be younger males and operate at the margins of the

livelihood spectrum earning less than 300 KES/day from the sale of recyclable waste they have


Site-based waste pickers are often referred to as ‘volunteers’ who work alongside formal actors

in the sector such as Mombasa County Government helping to keep collection points clean and

more organised. These players generally achieve high rates of efficiency through manually sorting

waste, ensuring that a lower proportion of the County’s waste reaches landfill. Though they are

subject to poor working conditions – i.e. no protective equipment, handling raw waste. Waste

pickers often lack formal recognition of their skills, or entrepreneurship and lack representation. As

such they are less well organised than CBOs or SMEs operating in the sector. At the Kibarni

dumpsite there estimated to be as many as 300 waste pickers living on the site. Though not formally

employed, they earn a livelihood by recovering valuable waste from the loads delivered to the site

by dump trucks and have had accommodation and drinking water provided for them at the

dumpsite. In efficiency terms, the amount of waste being recovered for re-use (where not spoiled) is

high and the working conditions that waste pickers face are incredibly hazardous – lack of

equipment, often working with bare arms, legs and feet and working and living amongst raw waste

and often hazardous materials e.g. acids and chemical waste.

3.6.2 Waste ‘middlemen’ (buyers)

The middlemen buyers operate informally within the sector buying waste products from those

collecting it and selling it on to those operating industrial value chains who have a demand for

suitable, raw materials. They operate out of open yards where waste products are aggregated for

transport to input companies/industrial supply chains. Informally they provide a degree of

coordination, loosely organising the activities of waste pickers where they decide to guarantee a

price for recyclables. However, the middlemen determine prices, not waste collectors, purportedly

offering lower prices for raw materials than if a collector sells direct to those who recycle waste

products. The middlemen often transport aggregated waste to industrial supply chains in


Their activities are unlicensed and often cartel-like. Consequently they suffer harassment from

County Government officers.


The analysis in the preceding sections has led to the identification of three binding constraints

within the waste management market systems (see Table 6 below):

4.1 Poor coordination between market players

Waste collection and supporting functions operate in a highly decentralised yet fragmented manner

which increases the costs of doing business particularly for smaller market players, for example

through diminished efficiency and a lack of cost sharing when transporting waste. Integration of

supporting functions with the core value chain and other related market systems i.e. waste collection

systems and industrial value chains is similarly fragmented. The pluralistic nature of the solid waste

management market in Mombasa County means that although on a practical level there is some

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integration of formal and informal waste management activities, opportunities for growth are

typically asymmetric, favouring larger, private-sector organizations over smaller, informal players –

the poorest in the sector whose activities are often ‘tolerated’ but not formally recognised,

constraining growth and realisation of basic employee rights. Investment in infrastructure and

research and development also appears disjointed such that infrastructure that could enhance the

role of market players is often developed as ‘quick-fix’ solutions often in inappropriate locations.

The two different tiers of policy and regulation from both the National (NEMA) and County

Government levels have at times created conflict between the different levels of regulatory

authority. As evidenced, for example, through the initiation of court proceedings against the County

Government by NEMA condemning the two ‘official’ dumpsites as illegal.

The lack of effective coordination between market players is a result of two systemic issues:

i. A lack of strategic oversight of the entire solid waste management system, with no clear

definition of roles and responsibilities of formal and informal sector actors stems from weak

institutional capacity and lack of political commitment. For example, there is currently no

County-wide policy framework for solid waste management. Strong political ties to the two

biggest market players may have historically provided a disincentive to address coordination

with smaller market players.

ii. A limited history of players interacting in a collaborative way often reflecting differences in

motivation i.e. profit versus. non-profit, and the perceived monopoly that two of the biggest

market players have held in the sector over the last 10-20 years. There may also be trust issues

where there is resentment from licensed operators who pay taxes and licence fees towards

informal operators who don’t pay. There are also potential liability issues arising from informal

sector players working directly with/for formal sector players.

Growth in employment and incomes will therefore require systemic changes in developing a

coordinated approach to strategic planning and investment in the sector based on comprehensive

stakeholder engagement.

4.2 Poor information exchange amongst key stakeholders.

A lack of accurate information on the flows and composition of the various waste streams in

Mombasa County limits knowledge of how effectively the waste management system currently

operates, for even the most well informed market players. This results in high cost of doing business

particularly for the public sector where a ‘fire-fighting’ approach is often adopted as opposed to

informed, strategic planning. The lack of clarity over the potential for adding value to various types

of waste and the true costs of waste management results in a low perception amongst the market

players, particularly waste producers, of the benefits of effective waste management and the value

of waste as a resource. This not only results in weak demand for collection services resulting in

limited opportunities to scale operations particularly for the poorest/smallest market players, but

limits growth in market for recyclables, where there is sub-optimal resource recovery from the

waste stream. A lack of transparency over market values/price signals of recyclable waste and poor

knowledge of the existence of markets for resource rich waste exacerbate this leakage in the value


Poor information exchange amongst key stakeholders can be traced back to two systemic issues:

i. Lack of reliable data and appropriate technical guidance due to constrained budgets, weak

institutional capacity, and limited collaboration within and between organisations. E.g. the scale

of the challenge of managing the County’s waste is obscured through an absence of reliable

information from the public and private sector.

ii. Low levels of knowledge transfer between waste ‘suppliers’ and those demanding various

types of waste. Inter-linkages between the supporting functions of the market system and the

core value chain are not particularly well established with a lack of information available to

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market players. For example, the specific quality standards demanded by those recycling waste

are not transparent. This is due to the low value placed on reliable information on the amounts,

composition, and value of various types of waste produced in the County.

Reinforcing the idea that waste is a valuable resource should incentivise behavioural change

amongst market players, stimulating growth in employment in waste collection, sorting, and

resource recovery activities. Achieving this will require enhancing the flow of information amongst

market players, to help define a clearer picture of the waste management system in Mombasa


4.3 Weak Research & Development functions (innovation and green entrepreneurship)

A lack of innovation in developing alternative market-based approaches to waste management has

constrained growth across the sector. For example, an inability for the urban poor to pay means that

only the County’s higher-income residents can afford to pay for waste management, leading to a

saturation in the current market for waste collection services. With many players focussing on the

rapid disposal of waste from source to dumpsite, there is significant leakage in the value-chain

where resource recovery has not been maximised and consequently there are fewer opportunities for


. Where innovative practices have been adopted they have largely been the result of

previous donor interventions. Many of these practices have never been successfully taken to scale,

having been based on unsustainable business models. Examples of this include waste valorisation

initiatives taken up by CBOs without adequate consideration given to developing a market for

recycled products or the means to access existing markets.

The lack of focus on research and development in innovation and green entrepreneurship can

reflects three systemic issues:

i. Limited support from the public sector to encourage (green) innovation and

entrepreneurship. Public sector investment in R & D for waste management is largely absent at

the County-level where waste management budgets are constrained and institutional capacity is


ii. Incentives for developing alternative methods of disposing of waste are not currently

present. For example, the absence of policy-based instruments to stimulate and encourage

greater involvement by the private sector in developing innovative business practices.

iii. Highly centralised policy environment that has not been devolved. At the National-level

there are several initiatives to stimulate innovation, some which have successfully been applied

to waste management. However, initiatives like technology transfer or building linkages between

private sector organisations and institutions have not been devolved to County-level and as such

remain out of reach for many operating within the sector i.e. SMEs.

Market development and enhanced job creation will require developing greater intelligence

around a wider range of waste management options available to Mombasa County. Creating an

enabling environment for both public and private sector investment in innovation and green

entrepreneurship could be brought about through the use of economic instruments or other

incentives to stimulate green innovation and entrepreneurship. Advocacy and policy support can

ensure that higher-level, National initiatives are realised at County-level creating better access to

opportunities for young entrepreneurs.


Studies elsewhere have shown that on a per-ton basis, sorting and processing recyclables alone sustain 10 times more

jobs than landfilling or incineration. http://www.ilsr.org/, 2014

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Table 6. Constraints analysis for the waste management market system.

Constraint Effects of constraint Systemic issue

Poor coordination

between market players

Fragmented delivery of supporting

functions (waste collection and

separation) constrains growth.

Integration of supporting market systems

is weak e.g. SWM collectors are not well

connected to recycling markets.

Some supporting functions are ‘tolerated’

but not officially recognised or supported

i.e. waste picking from dumpsites.

Increased costs e.g. high cost of

transportation where high proportions of

dense, heavy biodegradable are disposed

of, escaping the value chain.

Research and Development is disjointed

resulting in short-term investment


Conflict between the different levels of

regulatory authority.

Poor strategic oversight of

entire SWM system.

Limited history of players

interacting in a

collaborative way

Weak information

exchange between

various supporting



No rational basis for assessing the

effectiveness of the current SWM system

results in high cost of doing business.

Leakage in value chain where the

proportion of recyclable waste being

captured for resource recovery is not


Lack of reliable data and

appropriate technical


Low levels of knowledge

transfer between waste

‘suppliers’ and those

demanding raw waste.

Weak R&D function

(green innovation and


Constrained growth across the sector

through a lack of innovation in

developing alternative market-based

approaches to waste management.

Market system focuses on rapid disposal

therefore leakage in the value chain and

fewer opportunities for employment.

Tendency towards development of

unsustainable business models.

Limited local opportunities for training

young people in green business

development &innovation.

Limited support public

sector to encourage (green)

innovation and


Incentives for developing

alternative methods of

disposing of waste are not

currently present.

Highly centralised

innovation policy

environment. Limited

devolution to County-level.


Taking a market systems approach to economic development projects is useful for generating better

understanding economic market systems as they relate to people particularly where pro-poor

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development outcomes are desired. Delivering urban services in lower income countries,

particularly solid waste management, presents an often complex and challenging set of

interconnected issues. Waste management systems in lower income countries are often multi-

stakeholder affairs, characterised by a high degree of informality. Taking a market systems

approaches to conceptualising a solid waste management system allows the system to be described

in terms of its core function or value chain, in order to prioritise the use of waste as a resource,

consistent with international best practices in waste management. Growth potential, sector and

stakeholder performance, and the rules and norms of the system can then be analysed with a view to

addressing constraints that hinder the waste management market system from operating efficiently.

Using the example of Mombasa County in Kenya the market systems analysis was used to highlight

ways in which addressing constraints to the market system for solid waste could potentially support

the creation of new employment opportunities for young people in Mombasa County by stimulating

growth in the demand for waste management - collection, sorting activities - which in turn would

increase the supply of resource-rich waste for further processing and recycling. Three key system

constraints were identified which could be addressed by a package of policy interventions involving

the public, private and third sectors to:

Enhance coordination of the waste management system, providing a base for additional

opportunities for youth employment in the collection, re-use, and disposal of the County’s

municipal solid waste. Coordinating the various stakeholder’s waste management activities could be

brought about through the development of an Integrated Waste Management Plan for the County

accompanied by a programme of institutional capacity building within the public sector (Mombasa

County and NEMA) to better coordinate waste management activities throughout the County

through the development of a more balanced multi-stakeholder engagement framework. With

clearly defined roles and responsibilities for the private sector, and more space for those operating

in the informal/third sectors would allow for greater cost-sharing amongst players and increases the

coverage and efficiency of waste management services across the County. Better coordination may

also allow players to identify gaps in information/knowledge or skills relevant to the market system.

Increase information exchange between all market players allowing them to realise greater

efficiencies across the market system. With inadequate knowledge and capacity to monitor waste

management activities the County Government and the NEMA strive to make positive changes in

the waste management system, for example through increasing recycling rates, reducing levels of

waste requiring landfill, or strategically investing in infrastructure. Figures on waste generation

rates quoted typically reflect feasibility studies carried out five or more years ago, and are at best an

educated guess. Full-cost recovery of service provision is not realised, and the scale of the

environmental and social costs of the current system of waste management are under-reported.

Enhanced M&E and knowledge transfer practices would facilitate the flow of information to and

between market players, providing a clearer assessment of the effectiveness waste management

cycle in Mombasa County. This would then provide a platform for building awareness that waste is

a valuable resource on one hand, and that poorly managed waste is a risk to public and

environmental health. This would then encourage greater participation of users (waste generators)

in expanding the waste collection service to capture a greater proportion of valuable waste, enhance

the efficiency of handling waste in order to reduce management/transaction cost, and realise greater

resource recovery.

Strengthen sector research and development to explore alternative market-led solutions to

waste management that delivers world-class innovation. Creating additional employment

opportunities in the sector requires growth and expansion of resource recovery activities, and by

inference expanding and maximising the efficiency of waste collection and sorting activities. Under

the current business model though the current market for collection services is saturated, where

those who can or are willing to pay for a service do so, giving rise to some concern over who would

pay for the expansion of collection services. Exploring different waste collection models and

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providing additional incentives to encourage private sector investment in innovation would lead to

developing market-based waste management solutions that are self-sustaining.

5.1 Limitations

Defining the focus or desired outcomes of a market systems development analysis is critical to how

you understand the ‘effectiveness’ of the market system in question. The desired outcome of the

analyses performed here were to inform intervention design for a youth employment development

project in Mombasa County. As such under-performance in the waste management market system

was characterised as un or under-employment of young people in Mombasa within the sector. It was

assumed that intervention design to correct system constraints would always follow best

international practices in environmental stewardship and resource use, although these are not

explicitly described throughout the analysis. It is possible that the market systems approach to

improving waste management in Mombasa could have been applied with differing expected

outcomes for example, delivering high value ecosystems services, or positive development s in

climate change mitigation and adaptation, as opposed to economic performance such as

employment or income generating potential. The investigator needs to accurately define expected

outcomes prior to analysing the system. Of course, it is impossible to capture all information

relating to a particular market system. Indeed, a thorough market systems analysis should be

thought of as an iterative process, being regularly updated as new information comes to light, to

allow adjustments to be made to policy recommendations or programme and project design. That

said clear boundaries need to be established to ensure that information gathering and subsequent

analysis is relevant to the market system in question, with an acknowledgement that in may cases

there will be other supporting market systems that influence and determine the function of the

system being analysed.


Achtell, E., 2013. Waste Pickers Carbon Finance: Issue to consider.

Dixon-Fyle, K., 2000. Integrating employment into urban investment planning: towards a planning

and impact evaluation methodology.

GIZ, 2013. Value chain development by the private sector in Africa: Lessons learnt and guidance


Mbiba, B., 2014. Urban solid waste characteristics and household appetite for separation at source

in Eastern and Southern Africa. Habitat Int. 43, 152–162. doi:10.1016/j.habitatint.2014.02.001

Mombasa County Government, 2013. Mombasa County Integrated Development Plan 2013-2017.

Scheinberg, A., Spies, S., Simpson, M.H., Mol, A.P.J., 2011. Assessing urban recycling in low- and

middle-income countries: Building on modernised mixtures. Habitat Int. 35, 188–198.


SDC, 2008a. The operational guide for the Making Markets work for the Poor (M4P) approach:

Applications. Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation SDC.

SDC, 2008b. Perspectives on the Making Markets work for the Poor (M4P) approach: Concepts.

Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation SDC.

SDI, 2015. SDINet.org Blog Deepening Citywide Participation in Mombasa, Kenya | [WWW

Document]. URL http://old.sdinet.org/blog/2015/01/22/deepening-citywide-participation-

mombasa-county/ (accessed 8.28.15).

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