Characterisation of Municipal Solid Waste for Planning Sustainable Waste Management in Kumba Municipality – South Western Cameroon

E.B. Tambea, G.C. Ayongwaa, b, N.M. Ngwabieb, *, G.T. Forbida
a Higher Institute of Agriculture and Rural Development, Bamenda University of Science and Technology, P.O Box 277, Bamenda, Cameroon
b Department of Agricultural and Environmental Engineering, University of Bamenda, Cameroon

© Tambe et al.; Licensee Bentham Open

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial 4.0 International Public License (CC BY-NC 4.0) (, which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Agricultural and Environmental Engineering, University of Bamenda, Box 39 - Bambili, Cameroon; Tel: +237671643209; E-mail:


Municipal solid waste (MSW) characterisation across socioeconomic residents is necessary for planning sustainable solid waste management. In view of planning for Kumba municipality in the South West Region of Cameroon, three types of socioeconomic residents classified as low, medium and high income residential areas were randomly sampled. In each residential area, 32 households were sampled following systematic random sampling. Over a period of eight weeks within three periods characterised with varying activities, statistically designed number of samples for waste composition were hand sorted and weighed at source of generation. The study revealed that the per capita generation of putrescible and miscellaneous wastes (predominantly sand, ash and dust) were statistically different (p < 0.05) across residents and were inversely related to income while the generation of plastics, metals, papers, glass except textiles were statistically different across residents and were positively related to income. Putrescible waste was the most predominant waste category constituting more than 75% across residents. No significant differences were observed for per capita waste generation across residents during the entire period of study and within residents during the different periods over which the waste categories were measured. However, within the different periods, waste generation was significantly different across residents with more waste being produced in low income residents. The waste density was found to decrease with increasing income. The observed variation of waste generation and composition has implications for collection frequency, equipment needs, composting and digestion of the biodegradable for biogas generation to sustain the solid waste management sector.

Keywords: Characterisation, Developing countries, Integrated management, Municipal solid waste, Socioeconomic levels.