A hierarchical cluster-based segmentation analysis of potential solid waste management health hazards in urban Ethiopia
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Many interventions were sought in the past to address the human health and aquatic life implications associated with poor Municipal Solid Waste Management (MSWM) practices. Majority of such interventions failed to recognise that such human health risks and threats to aquatic life are to a large extent moderated by unique characteristics of different urban and rural spaces where such waste is generated. They failed to employ multiple criteria-based evaluation models that are appropriate in depicting the complex and often interrelated criteria inherently associated with MSWM. This study used the Hierarchical Cluster Analysis (HCA) to evaluate several interdependent variables that define human health and aquatic life hazards associated with poor MSWM practices. Specifically, HCA was used to identify relative similarities among, and distances between a sample of 26 Ethiopian cities and towns in terms of MSWM health threats. Results indicated that threats to human health and aquatic life are surmountable for cities whose economies are relatively low and lacking capacity in terms of SWM infrastructure, acceptable institutional arrangements and better health-care facilities to deal with associated SWM-induced human health risks. Risk of flood waters owing to low altitude has also compounded the urban health conditions in such cities. Despite being better positioned, the analysis observed that some bigger cities still face problems in terms of effective land use planning policies, commitment towards implementing effective SWM programmes as well as the absence of water safety management plans. It concluded by proposing a number of targeted interventions seeking to improve the human health conditions of cities failing to cope with uncollected waste.