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THE SOCIAL MATRIX OF SOLID WASTE MANAGEMENT IN ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA [Abstract ID: 1209-05]
In this presentation, social and cultural factors influencing municipal solid waste management (SWM) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, are elaborated. The study focused on the meaning of, and attitudes toward, solid waste-related practices at the household level and among sanitation workers in relation to the standards set by the city administration. Participants in this research, which was undertaken in Bole sub-city, Woreda (equivalent to a district) 09, in 2017, were members of a sanitation workers’ union and residents of the woreda. The data was collected through interviews, focus group discussions, and participant observation to elucidate community practices related to waste management at the grassroots level. Sanitation workers who participated in the study suggested that adherence to SWM standards varied significantly among households, contrary to data gathered from randomly selected households. In this regard, the sanitation workers’ perspective emphasized the community had little concern about waste handling or about sanitation workers’ dignity. Although the selected households appeared to respect the rules, the majority of community households did not strictly follow the city’s SWM rules and regulations. In addition, waste-sorting behaviors appeared to be directly linked with household income generation and empathic feelings toward sanitation workers. This contrast reflects a serious, ongoing problem in the city. The findings of this study suggest further research on the multiple social factors that influence solid waste-related practices in the community. Such research could serve as a basis for a contextual understanding of the root causes of these problems, the role of local knowledge, and practical implications of the current findings.