2.4 Review of Studies in Namibia
Researches related to this study have been conducted earlier on by Hasheela, (2009); Magen, (2010); Lindell, (2012); Westphal & Pfeffer, (2013); Croset, (2014); Jacobsen et al., (2014); Mughal (2014) focusing on solid waste management. The studies found out that solid waste management was a challenge in Namibia especially in most urban areas just like reported in other parts of the world. Thus the status of waste management in some small urban centers in the country needed improvement as confirmed by the Audit Report of the Auditor-General of 2013. Improper waste collection, removal and maintenance of dumpsites were found to be problematic partly due to lack of sufficient and appropriate waste collection equipment and vehicles, lack of cooperation between the relevant stakeholders among other issues.
In Tsumeb town, some 500km north of Windhoek , Croset (2014)’s study revealed that some recycling was already happening with formal and informal sectors participating and an informal network existed among the players. The main players involved were waste pickers (at the bottom of the hierarchy), scrap yard dealers, intermediate buyers and other buyers outside the town. A small informal community was observed to be making a living by recycling a few materials such as glass, bottles, card boxes and cans that were recovered from the dumpsites and some picked from bins. The development of recycling in Tsumeb was found facing some challenges of long distance to recycling depots in Windhoek and financial constraints despite its potential. The study concluded that more awareness and education about the benefits of recycling and importance of efficient waste management in general was needed. The same conclusion was reached by Magen (2010) in a study on waste management and recycling in Keetmanshoop and Ondangwa.
A study by Mughal (2014) carried out to establish status of waste management in the three northern towns of Ondangwa, Oshakati and Ongwediva found out that there was a need to improve the existing status quo regarding waste management. Improvements in regulatory frameworks, financial support, public education and awareness among others, were cited as the challenges that Ondangwa, Oshakati and Ongwediva towns were facing in management solid waste. The culture of reuse was found absent among most of the people as most recyclables like bottles and plastic carrier bags were simply thrown away causing a lot of litter all over ending up posing danger to both human and animals. The study recommended the need for more education and awareness about the benefits of recycling as well as putting in place of effective by-laws.
In Namibia, in general unemployment and inefficient recycling practices are significant problems according to Jacobsen et al., (2014) ; Kaapanda (2007). In a study to model the integration of informal waste collectors into the formal collection system, Jacobsen et al., (2014) found out that there was a possibility of improving people’s livelihoods through promoting recycling. However, inefficient collection of recyclables was partly found to be a result of transport problems in some areas particularly those in low income areas where inaccessibility is hampered by improper road networks. In the same study, Jocobsen (2014) pointed out that the feasibility of using bicycles driven carts to collect and transport recyclables could be a way to generate employment in Windhoek since unemployment and inefficient recycling practices were a significant problems in Namibia. If successful the bicycle model could be expanded to other towns as well.
Westphal & Pfeffer (2013) analyzing the role of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) contracted for the provision of cleaning and waste collection services for the City of Windhoek, found out that the sector provides low entry level jobs for men, women and young people who would otherwise have a difficult time entering the labor market as well as assisting the local authorities in waste management.
Lindell (2013) focusing on identifying different concepts for improving waste management in developing countries with particular reference to the Kavango region of Namibia, found out that four different concepts namely Integrated Solid Waste Management, Integration of the informal sector, Private Public Partnerships and Decentralization could be implemented for improving the waste management in the region.
Magen (2010) conducted a study to get more understanding about the different waste management and recycling practices and the social aspects that contribute and affect them in the municipalities of Windhoek, Keetmanshoop and Ondangwa. The study established that there was no national waste management policy, thus each local municipality had its own laws and regulations, a system which was found to compromise waste management operations such as enforcement of practices like recycling. On the other hand, recycling had not received enough attention from all stakeholders, a situation which compromised its success. For example, poor public participation from the general public was one of the constraints to successful recycling despite some efforts that were being made by the business communities and recyclers in promoting recycling.
Hasheela (2009) investigated waste management practices at municipal level in Namibia with particular reference to Windhoek. The study found out that waste management practices in the City were running well compared to other centers, thus this made it the cleanest City in Africa. However, the recommendation was that the system of waste management in use could be used as a model for the entire Namibia and recycling to be studied in detail to establish how it can contribute to this endevour. Whilst appreciating the importance of waste recycling as a waste minimization strategy, Keyter (2009) emphasized a need for the introducing Public Private Partnership (PPP) concept, an approach that are now embraced in recycling initiatives in Namibia as will be presented in detail in this research.
2.5 Concluding remarks
The chapter was mainly focusing on the concepts and literature review which the researcher had been exposed to during the research aiding in coming up with an area of focus for the study. As reported in studies done by Hasheela, (2009); Magen, (2010); Lindell, (2012); Croset, (2014), Namibia is recycling solid waste and as reported by Ashipala (2012) recycling of solid waste in Namibia is still an emerging business associated with the production of secondary raw materials. In the Namibian context, emerging industries are a newly classified sector of the economy and according to Bird (2010), Abernathy and Utterback (1978; Forbes and Kirsch, 2011) as cited in Tanner (2012) such industries are often difficult to identify during their early development phases until after their products appear on the market. Due to lack of adequate data little attention has been given to the emergence of new industries as cited by Forbes & Kirsh, (2011), however, with the changing perception in economic geography, scholars have begun to pay attention to emerging industries (Boschma & Frenken, 2006; Grabher, 2009) as cited in Tanner 2012).
With that in mind, adequate data about the industry in Namibia is still limited as not much records are kept (RNF, 2013) resulting in little information known about the industry by the generality of the population. While previous studies have revealed that recycling activities are on-going in the country, no single comprehensive study has been carried out regarding the industry. This research is a direct response to that knowledge gap. In line with this, cities like Windhoek along with other towns and local authorities struggling with solid waste management could benefit from a broadened understanding of the industry. In light of such insights, this study sought to investigate the recycling industry in Namibia as a whole taking into account the different facets that shape industry.