A framework for GIS-enabled public e-participation in municipal solid waste management
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Municipal solid waste is a serious environmental challenge that affects most urban authorities globally. Annually, more than two billion metric tons of wastes are generated globally. Municipal solid waste is especially a serious challenge to many developing countries because of a high waste generation stemming from high population growth and rapid urbanisation. In Sub-Saharan Africa alone, at least 62 million tons of waste are generated annually. The high rate of waste generation has made municipal solid waste management (MSWM) to be the single most crucial function of urban authorities in most developing counties, including Uganda. However, most urban authorities cannot cope with the high demand for MSWM because of weak infrastructure, limited funding, and weak legal and regulatory framework. Additionally, there is limited public engagement in MSWM amidst prevalent poor attitude towards waste management initiatives, by the public. Public participation is central to the achievement of sustainable waste management systems. However, there is minimal public participation in government administrative processes, including municipal solid waste management, in many sub-Saharan countries. Limited public participation in MSWM is attributed to the lack of effective public participatory platforms that ensure inclusive and broader stakeholder engagement. Although public participatory geographic information systems (PPGIS) have the potential to enhance public participation, there are inadequacies in theoretical foundations to guide their implementation. Therefore, geographical information systems (GIS) tools that enhance broader and effective stakeholder engagement have not been leveraged to address the challenges of MSWM in most developing countries. The implementation of PPGIS requires theoretical frameworks that support systematic analysis of not only the technical aspects but also the social-behavioural principles. Although several frameworks for public participation exist, they are also not tailored to address the contextual barriers to public participation, especially in the developing-country context. Therefore, this research aimed at developing a framework for GIS-enabled public e-participation in MSWM (coined as GPEP) in urban authorities, especially in developing countries. Pragmatism was selected as the philosophical underpinning for this research because this research aimed at finding a practical solution that is contextually suited to address MSWM challenges. The abductive approach research approach was used to maximize the strengths of both deductive and inductive research approaches. Pragmatism and the abductive approach would ensure a comprehensive yet contextually suited framework. In the development of GPEP, the design science research method was used. Design science research method supports the development of tangible and practical solutions to societal problems, including public eparticipation in MSWM. GPEP extended the Enhanced Adaptive Structuration Theory (EAST-2) that was developed by Jankowski and Nyerges to include constructs and aspects from Adaptive Structuration Theory (AST), Enhanced Adaptive Structuration Theory (EAST), Dynamic capabilities theory, and the institutional analysis and development framework. Also, GPEP includes factors that influence the uptake and use of PPGIS applications identified from the literature and contextual requirements derived from an exploratory study that was conducted in the greater Kampala area. GPEP was tested with a descriptive field study. Only the constructs that met the validity and reliability thresholds were included in GPEP. Data were analysed using the partial least squares (PLS) technique of structured equation modelling (SEM). The analysis involved an iterative stepwise forward factor selection process whilst determine the relationships between aspects and constructs. A two-tailed statistical significance of 0.05 was used and power set at 80%. The analysis found that technology influences and task influences have a direct bearing on conducting GIS-enabled public e-participatory processes (p<0.001 for all). Similarly, Social Institutional influence and participant influence had insignificant influence on GIS-enabled public e-participatory processes, contrary to the findings from prior research. GPEP was evaluated using structured walkthroughs and experimentation methods. GPEP was evaluated on a five-point Likert based on its Usability, Feasibility, Completeness, and Consistency attributes. The evaluation reported high usability scores (mean of the mean scores=3.7), feasibility (mean of the mean scores=3.9), and completeness (mean of the mean scores=3.70), and consistency (mean of the mean scores =4.4). This research achieved three objectives. (1) The requirements for GPEP were determined, (2) GPEP was designed, and (3) GPEP was evaluated to ascertain its practical utility. GPEP contributes to theory in three ways, (1) the factors that influence the adoption and implementation of PPGIS were identified, (2) a combination of methods-structured walkthroughs, experimentation and structured equation modelling were used evaluate the GPEP, and (3) the GPEP was derived through the integration of aspects and constructs from different theoretical frameworks. The study findings point to the need for a proper understanding of participant characteristics, consideration of organisational workflows and business processes, and task technology fit assessment before applying PPGIS in environmental public participation. Additionally, the implementation must be preceded by change management, feasibility studies, resource mobilisation, public awareness, and GIS infrastructure investments. Overall, GPEP should be used to inform the implementation of a PPGIS in Uganda. This study was cross-sectional, and the long-term benefits of this research cannot be determined at this stage, and this should be determined using a longitudinal study.