Dancing to the Tune of Opportunities –Human Settlements Aligned to Share the Jackpot of Kenya’s Coastal Tourism Benefits Spoil the Broth

Saeed Mwaguni, Elias Ayiemba, John Onyari


This paper highlights how human settlements aligned themselves to share the benefits to arise from coastal tourism development in the Kenya coast, but have come to bedevil the industry through poor management of domestic waste. The study area comprised of Nyali-Bamburi-Shanzu and Diani-Chale, which are two important tourist destinations in the country. It attempted to establish population numbers in these habitations, the waste loads generated, and how it was managed. The study was accomplished through field visits, library research and application of the World Health Organization (WHO 1989) rapid assessment methods for land, air and water pollution. The relevant data for assessment was obtained from records of population census, bed nights, occupancy, and the waste disposal methods in use. The study revealed that human settlements aligned themselves in clusters inland, reflecting the clusters of the beach hotels dotting the shore line of the Indian Ocean. Large volumes of domestic waste were being generated in both the human settlements and in the hotels. Management of the waste in the settlements was largely on-site and mixed, through the use of both pit latrines and septic-tank/soakage pit systems in the human settlements, and only through septic-tank/soakage pits in the hotel establishments. None of the settlements had wastewater treatment facilities. Only 5 beach hotels had wastewater treatment plants. While the settlements positioned themselves to benefit from the tourism industry, tapping in business and employment opportunities, the arrangement has seemed to spoil the broth as the settlements came to be the main source domestic waste affecting environmental quality and undermining tourism growth and sustainability. Also, through the large number of visitors, during the peak tourist periods, the beach hotels themselves have come contribute to large waste generation. On-site sanitation, it is concluded, is not appropriate for managing domestic waste in coastal areas dependent on good quality environmental to flourish the tourism economic sector. Tourism thrives in areas where the environment is aesthetically appealing; domestic waste undermine. Consequently, it is recommended that innovative approaches are pursued for domestic waste management in order to flourish and sustain the industry.

Keywords: Human waste, human settlements, tourism, on-site sanitation, contamination, aesthetic value, water quality, sustainability.

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ISSN (Paper) 2312-5187   ISSN (Online) 2312-5179

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