Developing countries are threatened by waste management problems. Recently on a tour to a part of our capital city Nairobi, I was amazed by the utter neglect of decomposing waste lying next to a housing line. The residents were going around their business oblivious of the dangers to human health posed by the heaps of garbage next to their homes. I stop and ask myself is it the role of the city management authorities, who have failed to realize the hazards of these heaps to human health or it is the residents who have no idea of what threats there exists or both.
The world Health organization defines health as “the level of functional and metabolic efficiency of a living being. In this case human as the general condition of a person in mind, body and spirit usually meaning free from illness, injury or pain”. What then negates the above described well being is therefore a threat to human health. In this case a conducive environment for pathogens, emissions due to decomposing garbage and a breading place for all sorts of disease carrying insects, and rodents.
Generally the condition in which a person lives is of great importance on the health status and quality of his life. It is increasingly recognized that human health is maintained and improved not only through the advancement and application of health science, but also through the efforts and intelligent lifestyles of the individual society.
In our case though we might have put all the social, economic and physical measures in place, we have clearly ignored on great determinant of human health; the environment. It is true as argued earlier in this document I have no idea who to blame, but I want to point an accusing finger at each one of them; the authorities and the residents. Given a choice of keeping litter and garbage in ones house or the choice of dropping it in a litter bin, am sure 100 per cent of the residents would go for the latter. Advancing the same argument, given a choice between getting sick because of garbage and staying healthy because of cleanliness, the resident would go for the later.
However, may be these services are not provided for the residents to either make a choice or effectively manage their litter. Hence dumping garbage outside his house for he/she want to be clean and does not want to be UN healthy or sick. In this case the blame goes to the authorities. One may be for not educating its citizenry, and second for not providing the necessary infrastructure as well as policy to manage waste in the city.
Increasing number of studies and reports, without going into detail of mentioning, examine the linkages between human health and different factors, including lifestyles, environment and personal hygiene. The environment which is my concern, defines the surroundings of the human being, all the matters related to human health or body and over which the individual has little or no control at all. It is this environment if it is tempered with by dumping then becomes a threat to the very life line of the individual. My cry is to all the players in this city; let us know that unless we check our waste management, then we might be headed to managing diseases and lacking a healthy work force because we shall all be sick.