Waste Scavenging a Problem or an Opportunity for Integrated Waste Management in Namibia: A Case of Keetmanshoop Municipality, Namibia

  •  Filippus Nambuli    
  •  Cecil Togarepi    
  •  Albertina Shikongo    


Waste scavenging is an emerging challenge faced by many Municipalities and Local Authorities in Namibia. However, it has been neglected by authorities due to insufficient knowledge about its contribution to resource recovery and recycling. This study investigated how waste scavenging as a problem can be transformed into an opportunity for Integrated Waste Management in Namibia. The main objective of the study was to determine the socio-economic drivers as well as health implications of waste scavenging at Keetmanshoop municipal dumping site, Namibia. Using the purposive sampling method, a total of 45 waste pickers were interviewed through semi-structured questionnaires. The data collected included waste pickers demographic (age, gender, marital status, and level of education), socio-economic impacts (income and diseases) from waste scavenging. The study revealed that the main drivers of waste scavenging are poverty (71.1%) and unemployment (64.4%). Furthermore, waste scavenging contributes significantly to waste pickers’ livelihood through income generation from the sale of waste materials (93.3%). The majority of the waste pickers (80%), scavenge mainly for metals whereas the least target food. The study concluded that waste scavenging, although neglected, contributes significantly to the livelihoods of waste pickers and waste management in Keetmanshoop. The study recommends that waste scavenging should be regulated and integrated into the formal waste management system of the Municipality through avenues such as the formation of the waste picker’s cooperatives that will be registered with the municipality and recognised through formal structures.

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