This project set out to define the refuse collection problem in Kitwe and to propose ways of improving the same. Through a household survey, interviews with relevant institutions and a physical survey of the town, it was established that the Kitwe City Council is not able to provide an adequate refuse collection service to its residents. Less than 10% of generated waste is collected. The rest is either burnt or scattered around the town in illegal pits, piles, road kerbs and even drainage systems. The situation contributes to environmental degradation, poor public health conditions, high risks of epidemics and a generally aesthetically unpleasant environment. The reasons for this situation include among others, inadequate financing mechanisms, inadequate technical capacity, failure to enforce existing legislation, poor participation of stakeholders and a general weakness in existing institutional structures. Some major strong points were identified through the surveys and they included users’ willingness to pay for and private sector willingness to be involved in refuse collection. Building on these the study proposes to improve refuse collection through a participatory approach in which the council ceases to be a service provider and becomes a facilitator and regulator. The Council is expected to facilitate and control the activities of the private sector through contracts and licensing procedures. Collection and management of waste is handled by the private sector through both contract arrangement based on open tendering as well as open competition; and by community based organisations who oversee the collection of waste from source to primary collection points. Secondary collection is to be undertaken as a collaborative effort between the council and the private sector. The council retains a minimal collection role in selected areas only as a way of utilising existing capital outlet. Individual users are expected to pay for collection in order to sustain the proposed system. User fees are billed with other services such as water as a means of achieving compliance. The study goes further and suggests that certain technical, financial and manpower capacities together with organisational capacities will have to be developed if the new system is to succeed. Among the major recommendations are improvement in solid waste data collection and management, improved road networks, development of a sanitary landfill, development of a regulatory and institutional framework for operation of all stakeholders, improved revenue collection systems, development of proper contract management procedures, environmental awareness campaigns, and establishment of appropriate operational standards. Recognising the difficulties of introducing new systems, the study ends by recommending that the council should proceed on an incremental (experimental) basis starting with implementing of those ideas which are more readily acceptable to society.

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Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies (IHS)
SINPA Papers
Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies (IHS)

Kazimbaya-Senkwe, B., Sankwe, K. M., & Frijns, J. (1999). Improvement of refuse
collection in Kitwe:
A participatory approach (No. IHS SINPA 32). SINPA Papers. Retrieved from