what we work on

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SOLID WASTE MANAGEMENT

CLEANING UP DAR ES SALAAM

Photo by WSTF CC BY

The majority of Dar es Salaam’s six million residents have no access to organised waste collection services so household rubbish ends up on informal dumpsites or in rivers, contaminating ground water and backing up into flood zones. Mountains of plastic washes into the Indian Ocean, degrading marine life, and thousands of homes are destroyed every rainy season by flooding. It’s an environmental and public health catastrophe.

Municipal governments are failing to contract services effectively, often leaving communities to fend for themselves and local waste collectors to dump illegally - a proper transfer to the municipal dump is impossible to finance, because fee levels are set so low or fee collection is so haphazard. Professional service providers are also discouraged from investing by the short-term, unreliable contracts municipal governments offer. 

The good news is that small-scale solutions have sprung up across the city with entrepreneurs finding exciting new ways to address this massive problem. We are supporting them to improve and grow, with funds, technical support, and political representation. 

We are also working to help coordinate the sector better - despite the fierce complexity of delivering waste management Dar es Salaam has no dedicated municipal Solid Waste Management department, leaving a chaotic environment with hundreds of informal collectors, small enterprises, large commercial operations and layers of bureaucracy. We help bring these actors together, working with politicians and officials at all levels of government to improve policy for waste collectors.

The goal is an integrated, city-wide system to shift waste from doorsteps to landfill, to address current failures in policy, municipal management, service deliver and citizen engagement.