Livelihood impacts of solid waste management in informal settlements of Windhoek, Namibia.
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Solid waste management (SWM) is a growing global concern, especially in urban areas and even more so in urban areas of developing countries. Informal settlement areas, slums, face grave challenges of inadequate municipal service delivery. The impact of solid waste management is related to impacts caused by lacking water and sanitation, through the common issue of public health. Service delivery varies among the residents within a city, and reflects the historical background and the current priorities of the municipality. Livelihood opportunities in the informal settlements are shaped by the organisation of urban space, setting the preconditions for access to services, level of inclusion in decision-making and forming of the ‘social self’. This paper investigates the solid waste management system within the capital of Namibia, Windhoek, with a special focus on the informal settlement areas. The direct livelihood impacts of inadequate SWM and general service delivery are visible through unhealthy living environments. The physical surroundings reflect the marginalised and peripheral status of the informal and illegal settlers in Windhoek. The residents’ awareness of connections between waste and livelihood varies, and is often limited to concrete issues in the neighbourhood, and not to structural arrangements and inequities within Windhoek. The research finds a divided city, where the traditional apartheid neighbourhoods are growing into large informal settlements due to continual urban migration. These settlements located in north-western Windhoek present the municipality with vast challenges related to basic service delivery. The residents are aware of their low priority in the city, which impact negatively on their livelihood opportunities. Key words: waste, solid waste management, livelihoods, ‘social self’, Namibia, Windhoek, municipal service delivery, informal settlements, slum.
Master thesis development management- University of Agder, 2014