Environmentalism after decentralization: the local politics of solid waste management in Tunisia

The present study adopts a transversal environmental justice-driven understanding of SWM which connects ecologies, lives, livelihoods, and institutions. Applying Rob Nixon’s theoretical framework of “slow violence” to the Tunisian context, it examines three case studies of municipal solid waste management and the role of environmental activism across these cases. The study argues that despite the broad mandates for environmental protection granted to municipalities in the context of decentralization reforms, SWM requires multi-scalar and multi-institutional coordination. Operating with financial and human resource constraints, municipalities are weak links, squeezed between citizens’ grievances and governmental priorities. Despite modest achievements, they are currently unable to fend off the “slow violence” resulting from failed SWM practices.