Waste Management a Priority for C40’s African Cities

Ricardo Cepeda-Marquez, the Director of C40’s Solid Waste Initiative, finds C40’s African cities taking action -- and eager to share knowledge to improve solid waste management.

Following a successful C40 Mayors Summit in Johannesburg, the Director of C40’s Solid Waste Initiative, Ricardo Cepeda-Marquez and C40 Africa Regional Director Hastings Chikoko met with three of C40’s African cities, Addis Ababa, Dar es Salaam and Johannesburg, to learn about their current solid waste management practices and understand their priorities for future action. The city visits were made to ascertain areas where C40 could support the cities in their efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through improved solid waste management.

“Solid waste management is an issue that every society has to deal with. However, during my visits to Dar es Salaam, Johannesburg and Addis Ababa, I have been encouraged by their commitment to improving the way they are managing waste. It is, however, evident that there is still more work to be done to achieve the goals that these cities have set.  This offers opportunities for inter-city learning and experience sharing, especially considering that many C40 cities are currently undertaking transformative changes in their solid waste management systems,” said Ricardo. 

Dar es Salaam

In Dar es Salaam, Mayor Didas Massaburi discussed the city’s goals to implement improvements in the collection, transportation and disposal of waste, as well as increasing community engagement and participation. The city is looking to develop an integrated management plan that includes the legal framework (laws, bylaws and regulations) to support the implementation of these actions.

Through C40, the City of Dar es Salaam hopes to exchange ideas and best practices on how to engage private sector participation in waste management and improve the financial sustainability of the integrated system by exploring potential revenue sources. The city is also interested in developing a landfill-gas to energy project and exploring technologies such as waste to fuel and anaerobic digestion.


The City of Johannesburg has already embarked on waste minimisation strategies, recycling programmes and separation-at-source campaigns targeting households and commercial buildings. The city has established sorting, recycling and waste buy-back centres such as Zondi in Soweto and Diepsloot.

City of Johannesburg Director of Waste Management and Regulation, Makhosazana Baker (Right) briefing the C40 Director of the Solid Waste Initiative, Ricardo Cepeda-Marquez (left) and C40 Regional Director for Africa, Hastings Chikoko, at the Diepsloot Waste Buy-back Centre in Johannesburg.  

In addition, the city is converting five landfill sites -- Marie Louise, Robinson Deep, Ennerdale, Linbro Park and Goudkoppies -- from methane gas flaring to power generation. These are expected to produce approximately 19MW of electricity, which can supply 12,500 households over 20 years and beyond.

Makhosazana Baker, Director of Waste Management and Regulation for the City of Johannesburg believes that exchanges with other cities will enable the city to – among other things – evaluate and select relevant waste management technologies and solutions. The city also hopes to work with other C40 cities on the development of sound waste management policies and strategies, especially those addressing informal sector issues.

Addis Ababa

In Addis Ababa, C40 held meetings with the City Manager, Haile Fesseha, and officials from the Solid Waste Recycling and Disposal Office. The city has achieved significant improvements on residential waste collection efficiency and is in the process of developing a new sanitary landfill and three transfer stations that will improve transport efficiency and disposal compliance.  One of the city’s top priorities is to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill disposal by significantly increasing its composting infrastructure and recovery of recyclables; there is also a strong interest in exploring advanced technologies for energy recovery from waste.

The current disposal site, a CDM registered project, will be gradually closed and the city is looking for alternatives to the current practice of flaring landfill gas. To accelerate the implementation of their waste management plans, the city of Addis Ababa is participating in the C40 partnership with the Climate and Clean Air Coalition Municipal Solid Waste Initiative, gaining access to expert technical assistance from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the International Solid Waste Association.

Cape Town

Although not part of Ricardo’s Africa “tour”, the new C40 City of Cape Town is also actively engaging with the C40 network on the issue of waste management.  During a recent visit to the City of Cape Town by the C40 Executive Director Mark Watts, Cape Town Mayor, Patricia de Lille invited C40’s support in finding effective and efficient ways of managing solid waste in informal settlements and reducing the number of landfills.

In Africa and around the world, the C40 Solid Waste Initiative is harnessing the wealth of experience and knowledge existing within C40 member cities, creating connections between peers across cities in order to ensure active exchange of knowledge, experience, best practices, and lessons learnt.