Environmental Performance in the Waste Management Industry of Africa: A Measure of Responsible Management

Environmental Performance in the Waste Management Industry of Africa: A Measure of Responsible Management

Bibi Zaheenah Chummun (University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-7638-9.ch011

Abstract

In the midst of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the proliferation of the technology revolution is changing the mindset of people relating to waste management. The mobility of people to the different places of African continent, a hike in industrial advancements, and the increase in the rise of goods consumption among others are fueling the generation of waste across Africa. Although the waste management industry plays a crucial role, reports have shown in the last decade that environmental degradation, pollution, and non-compliances by the activities of waste management companies prevail and impinge on environmental performance. Waste has now become one of the most significant environmental issues that requires attention. This chapter emphasizes on the landscape of the sector of waste management and the challenges facing the waste industry in Africa. The chapter ends with propositions to address those issues in a view to promote environmental performance and ensure responsible management of emerging African markets in the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
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Introduction

Due to rapid innovation in technology, the global economy, and urbanization, man has established the Fourth Industrial Revolution, which has increased the standard of living. This has led to an increase in industrial processing, which has accelerated the generation of waste. Waste management has rapidly become one of the global environmental issues (Song, Li & Zeng, 2015:1). Due to a rapid increase in population and industrial advancements, there has been an increased generation of waste in Africa. For instance, the waste management sector in South Africa plays a vital role in the South African economy, the sector has been valued at 15.3 billion rand, and contributes to 0.51% of the country’s GDP and contributing to economic growth (Department of Environmental Affairs, 2017).

In the last decade, there have been numerous reports of environmental degradation, pollution and non-compliances by the activities of waste management companies that has shown to have strong bearing on responsible management. Responsible management can be described as “seeking to balance the interests of the entire world (people, companies and environment) to prosper for the benefit of both current and future generations”. Waste has now become one of the most significant environmental issues that requires attention to enhance responsible management. In this context, the waste management sector plays a vital role in the African economy as waste is generated from all industries, which needs to be disposed of in a legal and accountable manner (Singh, Brueckner, & Padhy, 2015:16). For instance, much emphasis has been placed on the waste sector lately with the National Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) in South Africa, declaring a “War on Waste”. The DEA have been striving to implement measures to ensure that waste is recycled, re-used, reduced and beneficiated. Targets and deadlines have been placed on waste generators and waste management companies to comply with national legislation in order to ensure the protection of the environment, health and safety of the public and to promote responsible management (Young, Davis, Mcneil, Malhotra, Russell, Unsworth, & Clegg, 2015:670).

However, research suggests that sound waste management practices in Africa are not under control by those who are actively involved in waste management (DEA, 2017). Although the intention is there to act responsibly, there are various barriers to good waste behaviour. Also, whilst there is intent to perform proper waste management practices, to enhance environmental performance, there has been weak translation into good behaviour (Godfrey, Scott, & Trois, 2013:295).

Therefore, the study is predicated on the thrust that the main factors affecting environmental performance in the waste industry of African developing countries such as organizational culture, environmental management system and the pro-environmental behaviour of employees can improve environmental performance in the waste industry of African developing countries and ensure responsible management practices.

The chapter focuses mainly on Municipal solid wastes (MSW) that are waste generated everyday although it makes mention of other types of waste in the content of the chapter.

Table 1 highlights the amount of MSW recorded in various cities of Africa.

Table 1.
Amount of MSW recorded in various cities of Africa during year 2016
African City/CountriesMSW generation rate (kg/capita/day)
Nigeria- Lagos0,95
Kenya - Nairobi0,72
Tanzania - Dar es Salaam0,50
Zambia- Lusaka0,37
Ethiopia - Addis Ababa0,32

Source: Kawai and Tasaki (2016)

Key Terms in this Chapter

E-Waste: Electronic devices meant for reuse, resale, salvage, recycling, or disposal.

Responsibility Management: Finding the right equilibrium to suit the interests of the entire world to enhance welfare.

Waste Management: Activities required to manage waste or garbage from its start to its final disposal.

Environmental Management: Technical and organizational activities aimed at reducing environmental impact caused by an organizations business operation.

Environmental Performance: Demonstrates a methodology to ascertain the effectiveness of the environmental initiatives an organization puts in place to mitigate and protect the environment.

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