An investigation of solid waste management practices : the case of the Chatsworth township in metropolitan Durban - KwaZulu-Natal.
Solid waste management is a global phenomenon that presents one of the most immediate and serious challenges in developing urban areas. Chatsworth is a formal residential township and is a product of the apartheid system, where solid waste removal was not seen as a priority. The inefficient waste management system has resulted in environmental degradation with solid waste increasingly being disposed off in streets, open spaces and streams etc. Waste heaps are becoming the breeding places of insects and pests and potential health hazards. Moreover, the aesthetics of this formal residential area is lost due to bad odour, unsightly dumpsites and deterioration of the environment. With most residential areas in South Africa having formal waste removal services, the continued existence of illegal dumps is still a serious problem . In the light of the above, the aim of this study was to investigate the solid waste management practice in Chatsworth and its negative impact on the human and natural environments. The social dimensions, perceptions, attitudes and solid waste practices of households were investigated to examine the relationship between socio-economic status and current waste practices. A survey assessment was conducted by means of a questionnaire designed to get community opinions and understanding of the type of service they received from the municipality. One hundred questionnaires were administered to householders in the study area. The study was complemented with semi-structured interviews with specific people of interest. The Statistical Package for Social Scientists was used for data entry and analysis. The findings of this study indicated that the waste collection system is inefficient and the attitudes, perceptions and socio-economic characteristics are significant factors contributing to effective waste management practices. Appropriate policy backed by legislation and enforceable regulations must underpin the strategic alternatives selected to deal with waste management in the eThekwini Municipality. The planning of integrated waste management should be seen as part of the solution of waste management and waste management should be appreciated as a public service that provides employment. resource recovery, and safe disposal of hazardous waste, reduced pollution and community development projects.