This study uses the double-bounded willingness to pay (WTP) bid elicitation format to test whether the institution providing improved solid waste management (SWM) services in the Matsapha peri-urban area of Swaziland significantly influences households WTP. Matsapha was purposely selected on account of its well-documented human health and environmental impacts of poor SWM, arising from the lack of a proper SWM system. The WTP for improved SWM by households was thus elicited and compared when the service provider was an independent public agency (the Matsapha Town Council), a traditional community development agency (the Kwaluseni Inkhundla), and a private contractor. Purposive and simple random sampling methods were used to collect survey data from 180 households, using structured questionnaires and face-to-face interviews.
Overall, households display a high level of knowledge about the risks associated with poorly managed household solid waste, and have attitudes and perceptions that are receptive to a policy that improves the current status of SWM. Mean WTP for improved SWM was highest when the service provider was the Matsapha Town Council (mean E47.71, with upper bound (UB) E56.29 and lower bound (LB) E13.33), followed by the private contractor (mean E43.71, with UB E42.50 and LB E11.67), and finally, the Kwaluseni Inkhundla (mean E36.49, with UB E50.83 and LB E12.14). Additional analysis showed that the mean WTP did not statistically differ when the SWM service was provided by the Matsapha Town Council or the private contractor (t = 1.52, p = 0.1331), which was unexpected, given that the latter is generally viewed as more efficient and cost effective. Mean WTP was, however, significantly higher when the service provider was the Matsapha Town Council, in comparison with the Kwaluseni Inkhundla (t = 4.28, p = 0.0001). Finally, the mean WTP was significantly higher when the service provider was the private contractor, in comparison with the Kwaluseni Inkhundla (t = 2.90, p = 0.0053). This allows us to conclude that the institution providing improved SWM services significantly influences households WTP, and that households rank the Matsapha Town Council as the most-preferred service provider.
The study further established that in areas where SWM services are currently provided at a fee, households have a WTP for improved services that is much higher than current charges. For example, in areas where private collectors currently provide SWM services, households pay a monthly charge of E30.00, while our analysis shows they have a mean WTP of E43.71. The study additionally showed that in areas where no SWM services are currently provided, households would be willing to pay a positive monthly fee, if such services were to be provided. This allows us to conclude that the provision or improvement of SWM practices in the Matsapha peri-urban area of Swaziland, at a fee, would result in a Pareto improvement.
Ordered Probit models, differentiated by SWM service provider as defined above, were used to determine the factors that influence households WTP for SWM services. The results, overall, show that households WTP significantly increases with the following variables: income, gender (e.g. WTP for females was significantly higher than for males), number of rental units in a compound, marital status (e.g. WTP for married people was significantly higher than for the singles) and number of tenants in a compound. On the other hand, WTP was found to significantly decrease with age, household size, attitude and perceptions of respondents.
Following from the above, the study recommends that the Matsapha Town Council should consider improving the quality of SWM practices in areas where they are currently provided at a fee, and also consider providing such services in areas where they are not currently provided at a fee. Our analysis suggests that the Matsapha Town Council could levy a monthly fee that ranges between E13.33 and E56.29 per household. The actual value of the monthly fee should, however, be determined through a stakeholder engagement process.