African Culture is World Heritage

African Proverb

African Proverb
Distance diminishes the elephant

Africa Bush Poo and Trash Landfills

Poo organic waste and inorganic waste are serious problems in Africa relating to broken windows theory but also supporting many recycling businesses.

Organic waste such as poo is the leading type of waste product in Africa. Africa’s broken windows theory is visible sign of cities volume of waste which is increasing in accordance with the continuous growth of urban citizens.

Broken windows theory is a sociological theory proposed by James Q. Wilson and George Kelling stating that visible signs of chaos and disobedience in an environment encourage misbehavior leading to serious crimes.

Kiteezi, Mpererwe Uganda aging 29 acre Kiteezi landfill

Kiteezi, Mpererwe Uganda aging 29 acre Kiteezi landfill


In rural areas, a household can dispose of its waste in a self-contained fashion by burying it in the ground, burning it, or feeding it to livestock. Once people start living together, however, waste cannot be handled in these ways. Waste accumulates in urban cities causing unsanitary conditions in living areas.

The urban population in Africa is steadily increasing. This trend will continue in Africa: the total population is expected to grow by 105%, or approximately double, from 2015 to 2050, and the urban population is expected to grow by 284%, or approximately triple, over the same period.

Waste is often thrown about on the streets in many unkempt African streets, or back alleys and vacant land are used for the dumping of inorganic and organic waste. According to the broken windows theory these conditions can also lead to a deterioration in the local security situation by permitting offensive behavior.

Pooping in the bush may be something new for you, but in Africa, it is an everyday practice. People are not pooping in the bush because they unlearned hygiene basics. In fact, in most jurisdictions, pooping and dumping untreated human waste in or on the ground is not permitted. However, sightings of humans using the bush as toilets are a regular accepted event.

The biggest concern with regard to human feces is the spread of disease. Free waste alleviation and gelling bags are sold throughout Africa. These sealable bags contain Poo Powder, a NASA-developed super absorbent that turns poop into an inert, odorless gel. However, the bags themselves are single use and end up in landfills.

Most people bury their poop but if done improperly it can pollute water sources, incest life and plants. Largely individuals use a stick to make a hole 6 to 8 inches deep and 4 to 6 inches round. Use a stick to stir it in with your waste in the hole, and then cover it up thoroughly.  Humans produce up to a pound of poop per day and human feces take about a year to biodegrade.

There are clear health risks as the crowded, unsanitary conditions make the area a high risk for communicable disease. Some African urban city planners tried to install more public toilets, provide soap, water and hand basins, and step up waste collection to curb the unsanitary conditions but the practice of pooping in the bush remains strongly entrenched in mainstream African society.

Pooing in public places may seem as if society has morally downgraded itself to allow such a practice but in Africa, this broken windows theory does not fit as pooping in the bush is a thousands of years old African habit. However, organic waste, the main component of waste in Africa, attracts insects, rats and other pests. In regions with high temperatures, waste tends to promote the breeding of flies and mosquitoes that can cause the spread of deadly diseases. 

Even collected waste is improperly disposed of in many cities. At least 70% of waste is disposed of in open dumpsites in urban areas of Africa. Straggling economic growth in poorer African urban cities makes it difficult to secure money for waste management when hunger and safety are prominent issues. The countries of Africa, however, have high non-collection rates relative to the status of economic growth. These countries have serious problems in both waste collection and transport.

The 30 acre landfill located in the east of Nairobi Kenya.
The 30 acre landfill located in the east of Nairobi Kenya.

Dandora is Nairobi Kenya main dump site and landfill, it receives more than 2,000 metric tons of waste from the capital city’s 4.5 million residents. The 30 acre landfill is located in the east of Nairobi supports recycling businesses which employs thousands of families. From bottles and cans, scrap metal to ink cartridges, bullets to construction materials, Dandora landfill labors recycle a huge variety of items in exchange for cash.

Near Kampala Uganda, in Kiteezi, Mpererwe the Kiteezi and the new 135 acre Ddundu landfill site alleviate to issue of uncollected waste that is normally dumped in unauthorized sites, causing health and environmental problems.

While organics account for much of the waste composition in Africa, lifestyle changes brought about by economic growth are pushing up the amount of waste requiring special treatment for disposal such as plastics, electronic products, and tires. Large volumes of used electrical and electronic products are imported from developed countries, many of which no longer work.

Even collected waste is improperly disposed of in many cities disposed of in open dumpsites. Open dumping causes many problems. Apart from the abovementioned problems of insects and pests, it also leads to the contamination of surface water and groundwater from leachate, offensive odors, and fires. 

Leachate are particularly substances because harmful liquids passes through dumpsites and landfills and has extracted dissolved and suspended matter. Open dumping sites also release methane into the atmosphere without any controls, which contributes to climate change via the strong greenhouse effect of the gas.

Beyond Africa’s broken windows theory countries require social change with the development of legal systems and improvements in institutional capacity and civil consciousness to respond to the problems of waste. These changes can take time. These waste issues are occurring at a speed that overtakes the process of social change.


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Being African in America I have grown up learning about different ethnic cultures. My mother is a historian of African culture and history and her influence expanded my activities to several best-selling cookbooks, magazine columns, self-branded products, and a popular African culture and food blog.

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