HEALTH RISK

Residents protest dumping of garbage next their Nyeri town homes

County officials deny there is a waste disposal crisis

In Summary

•  Children collect used condoms and inflate them to play with as balloons.

•  Nyeri town does not have a dump site after the one at the Asian quarters was closed to give way for a Sh600 million bus terminus.

Some angry Karima Ward residents on Wednesday when they warned the county government against dumping anymore garbage at the Gikeu dumpsite in Othaya
Some angry Karima Ward residents on Wednesday when they warned the county government against dumping anymore garbage at the Gikeu dumpsite in Othaya
Image: EUTYCAS MUCHIRI

Nyeri town has a garbage disposal problem. Unfortunately, officials deny there is a waste disposal crisis in the devolved unit's capital.

Grace Waititu, a resident of Gikeu in Karima ward where garbage is dumped, said the site, which is swampy, has become the breeding ground for mosquitoes.

Waititu said children collect used condoms and inflate them to play with as balloons.

 

“There are also syringes and needles from health facilities as well as broken bottles which are dangerous to our children’s health,” she said. “Children and adults have been experiencing respiratory problems due to smoke and stench  from this site.”

Waititu's fears were similar to those expressed by Alice Wothaya, who said other health-risk items besides used condoms, syringes and needles were also dumped at Gikeu.

Environment CEC Fredrick Kinyua denied there was a garbage disposal crisis even as Karima ward residents led by MCA Reuben Kabera demonstrated at the dumpsite on Wednesday.

The protesters vowed not to allow any garbage truck to empty its content there.

Kabera said garbage was ferried to the site at night. Residents wake up to find garbage on their farms and roadsides.

The town was been without a dumpsite after the one at the Asian quarters was closed to give way for a Sh600 million transport terminus.

The construction of the terminus was launched by Governor Mutahi Kahiga in June.

 

MCA Kabera said Gikeu served as a slaughterhouse before it was unprocedurally converted into a dumpsite. He called on the National Environment Management Authority to intervene before people's health suffers more damage.

Kelvin Gicheru, who lives in the dumpsite neighbourhood, said the site is too small to accommodate the garbage from Nyeri town and Othaya.

“People here are angry because the county government has been ferrying garbage from other areas to this place,” Gicheru said.

The residents called on the county government to acquire a bigger plot to dispose of the waste from the entire county.

MPs of constituencies like Mathira and Kieni have rejected attempts to have the waste disposed of in their areas.

Environment CEC Kinyua said Sh50 million had been set aside to buy land on which garbage will be disposed of.

"But the process of is long," he said and called for patience.

“To buy public land, county governments must involve the National Land Commission to procure it on their behalf. Once we identify that piece of land, we must take it to the NLC which does the valuation,” he said.

“If the seller agrees with that price, then the county transfers the money to NLC for them to procure the land.”

Kinyua said the bigger dumpsite will serve the entire county. Before it is acquired,  the county will continue disposing of waste in the existing dumpsites.