This report presents findings from a study that examined solid waste management (SWM) in Dakar, the capital city of Senegal. The results showed that SWM problems in the city start at the level of households and the neighbourhoods. Households do not have appropriate containers to store their waste collection. They therefore simply dump waste in the streets, yards, abandoned houses or uncontrolled dumpsites.
The findings revealed challenges at the government and policy level. First, laws and regulations on SWM did not evolve in a manner which that ensures a clear delineation of responsibilities between the national government and municipalities. Municipalities simply claim that they do not have sufficient funds to ensure a sustainable SWM system in their areas of jurisdiction and that the government should pay for SWM. Over time, responsibilities for SWM have shifted between public and private stakeholders without clear roles for each sector.
Second, laws and regulations have never been sufficiently enforced to reduce the indiscriminate disposal of solid waste by households.
Yet, poor SWM is associated with numerous negative consequences for humans and the environment. To improve SWM in the country, the two levels of government (municipalities and national government) should put in place incentives to promote sorting, recycling, and composting — these strategies have been proven to be effective in developed countries.
In addition, the government should improve the working conditions of SWM personnel which in most cases are stigmatized due to the nature of their work. Members of the public should be sensitive about the importance of keeping the environment clean and safe.Members of the public should be sensitized about the importance of keeping the environment clean and safe. Ultimately, improved SWM will lead to a reduction in infectious diseases (e.g. diarrhoea, typhoid, malaria) and chronic diseases (such as asthma) in addition to promoting the wellbeing of vulnerable populations (women and children).