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Municipal solid waste generation in growing urban areas in Africa: current practices and relation to socioeconomic factors in Jimma, Ethiopia


As one of cities in the developing countries, a rapid population growth and industrial activities pose many environmental challenges for Jimma city, Ethiopia. One aspect of urban growth posing a threat on sustainable development is poor solid waste management, which results in environmental pollution. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the quantity, composition, sources of waste generated, their current disposal practices, and to recommend appropriate management technologies. The total waste generated daily in Jimma city was ca. 88,000 kg, and the average per capita generation rate was 0.55 ± 0.17 kg/capita/day. Eighty-seven percent of the waste was produced by households and 13% by institutions, and a negligible fraction (0.1%) was generated by street sweepings. During the rainy season, 40% more waste was generated than in the dry season because of the increased availability of agricultural food product. Further analysis showed that biodegradable organic waste constitutes 54% by weight with an average moisture content of 60% that falls within the required limits for composting. The nonbiodegradable components constitute 46% of which 30% of it was nonrecyclable material. Only 25% of the community uses municipal containers for disposal at the selected landfill site. Fifty-one percent of the households disposed their waste in individually chosen spots, whereas 22% burned their waste. Finally 2% of households use private waste collectors. The socioeconomic analysis showed that higher family income and educational status is associated more with private or municipal waste collection and less with the application of backyard or open dumping. These insights into generated waste and management practice in Jimma city allow making suggestions for improved collection, treatment, and disposal methods. A primary conclusion is that the biodegradable waste is a major fraction having suitable properties for recycling. As such an economic benefit can be obtained from this waste while avoiding the need for disposal.

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The authors would like to thank the Flemish Institutional University Cooperation and Jimma University partnership program for funding this study and Jimma city administration for cooperating with researchers at the time of data collection.

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Correspondence to T. Getahun.

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Getahun, T., Mengistie, E., Haddis, A. et al. Municipal solid waste generation in growing urban areas in Africa: current practices and relation to socioeconomic factors in Jimma, Ethiopia. Environ Monit Assess 184, 6337–6345 (2012).

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  • Ethiopia
  • Solid waste
  • Waste generation
  • Waste management