Transdisciplinary Co-production in Action: the Solid Waste Comparative Project in Kisumu

Researchers from the Skåne and Kisumu Local Interaction Platforms joined forces in early-August in Kisumu, Kenya, to study urban solid waste management challenges facing the city. Barry Ness and Luciana Capuano Mascarenhas from the Skåne interaction platform (SKLIP) collaborated with Dr. Michael Oloko and colleagues from the platform Kisumu (KLIP) to discuss and examine the challenges with different solid waste actors along with more sustainable strategies to address them. The activities included meetings and site visits with city and county officials, community group leaders, private waste collectors and recyclers and landfill waste pickers, among others. 

The collection and handling of municipal solid waste poses a significant challenge in urban Kisumu. The demand for more sustainable waste handling and treatment strategies in the city has become more acute because of the threatened permanent closure of the Kachok dumpsite located immediately outside the city center. The action has prompted significant debate and controversy on the different treatment options. Some of the options include the location of an alternative landfill site outside of the city, possibilities for solid waste incineration, and how to operationalize city ward-based resource recovery and sorting centers. Kisumu Local Interactive Platform (KLIP) and Skåne Local Interactive Platform (SKLIP) researchers are working to contribute with informed knowledge to these debates and decision-making in multiple ways including on how to encourage a circular economy in the area.

A policy brief for decision-makers
Based on a broader assessment of the situation in Kisumu City, the research team has produced a policy brief for decision-makers in Kisumu. In addition, the comparative project research activities in coming months for the project will include a multi-criteria analysis of different centralized solid waste treatment technologies, including landfilling in different levels of technological sophistication, incineration and anaerobic digestion. The anticipated result of the project will be both better solid waste management strategies for Kisumu and the implementation of solid waste processes and technologies that decrease the quantities of wastes reaching final disposal.

By Barry Ness, Skåne Local Interaction Platform, Sweden

Read more:  Solid Waste management website

Read more about Kisumu Local Interaction Platform

Read more about Skåne Local Interaction Platform

Photo above: Researcher meeting with private waste collector organization to discuss the current challenges with the solid waste collection system and the sharing of possibilities of how to promote a stronger circular economy around material streams in Kisumu.  Photo by: Michael Oloko.



  • Policy brief Solid Waste recommendations Kisumu August 2019