Just, plastic free transition and climate change resilience in Mombasa County

Regional focus: Eastern Africa / the Climate Action Network

Time: December 2023-January 2025

Abstract: Plastic waste is a growing environmental concern in the coastal city of Mombasa in Kenya. Open burning of plastic at dumpsites generates greenhouse gases. Floods dump tonnes of plastic waste into the ocean causing biodiversity and economic losses. Mombasa County Government has developed various policies, strategies and legislations to curb plastic pollution and reduce community vulnerability to climate change. Kenya’s Constitution requires that public policy decisions and actions, must adhere to democratic principles such transparency, public participation and justice. Using environmental democracy as an analytical framework, this project aims to critically examine how plastic governance in Mombasa County creates democratic spaces for civil society and grassroots organizations to engage in plastic pollution and climate change governance. Participatory action research will be used to examine the opportunities, gaps and challenges for the County government to deliver a citizen-centered, just, plastic-free transition.

Research questions:

  1. How does Mombasa City County Government identify and respond to the needs and aspirations of civil society and grassroots organizations affected by and working to reduce plastic waste pollution in coastal areas of Mombasa?
  2. What are the current policies and plans that are implemented by Mombasa City County Government to achieve a sustainable and inclusive plastic waste management, to reduce the vulnerability of coastal communities in the context of climate change?
  3. How do policies, plans and actions by Mombasa County Government engage with local aspirations and needs?
  4. Through what mechanisms does the civil society and grassroots organizations hold Mombasa County Government accountable for its action or in action on ensuring sustainable and just plastic waste governance? How effective are those mechanisms for accountability?
  5. How can citizen engagement processes, actions, policies and plans be improved to lead towards a green and just plastic free transition?

Main researchers:

  • Dr. Richard Dimba Kiaka, CEJAD, Research Associate
  • Prof. Maria-Jose Zapata, University of Gothenburg, Professor
  • Prof. Patrik Zapata, University of Gothenburg, Professor

This research project aims to directly support ICLD’s Network for Climate Action, and specifically the municipal partnership between Mombasa County and Region Västernorrland.

Other ICLD research by the authors:

Project Area
Environment/Climate change
Sustainable Development Goals
11 - Sustainable cities and communities13 - Climate action