Solid Waste Management and Environmental Injustice in Poor Communities in Kinshasa: A Cultural theory and Systems Approach

Nzalalemba Serge Kubanza, Mulala Danny Simatele


This paper discusses injustice in solid waste management (SWM) and its impact on poor communities in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). It is argued that poor communities in Kinshasa tend to be the most affected by irregularities in solid waste collection and management. A divide between the rich and poor neighbourhoods is experienced in solid waste management engendering injustice in the city of Kinshasa. Using a qualitative and quantitative research methodology, it is suggested that the current governance systems for SWM in Kinshasa, is unfair by all the different ideas of fairness. In view of this, a cultural theory and systems approach are introduced to determine how actors (fatalist, hierarchist, individualist and egalitarian) influence the management of solid waste and how they are engagement can create environmental justice in SWM in Kinshasa. The paper provides that if the ideal form of urban SWM could be realised in Kinshasa, it should be called participatory resource recovery governance. An environmental policy tailored to very local circumstances-together with some financial support from the government public sector and private companies, and the deployment of social awareness campaigns designed to reduce the generation of “waste” at source (and to emphasise the economic resource value of the misnomer of “wastes”)-could succeed in shifting things towards participatory resource recovery governance. In it, all stakeholders would share equitably the responsibility of resource recovery and environmental protection, if not restoration.

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Copyright (c) 2018 Nzalalemba Serge Kubanza, Mulala Danny Simatele

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Environmental Management and Sustainable Development  ISSN 2164-7682

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