ENVIRONMENTAL CONCERNS

Slum dwellers burn private developer’s garbage in Mombasa

The private developer buys garbage from collectors and dumps it at Bandarini village.

In Summary
  • The private developer uses the garbage to reclaim part of the sea shore and develops the land for commercial purposes.
  • Bombole Mwavita, a village elder, said they have raised their concerns to different authorities but in vain.
Bandarini villagers protest dumping of garbage in their neighbourhood by a private developer
ANGRY: Bandarini villagers protest dumping of garbage in their neighbourhood by a private developer
Image: JOHN CHESOLI

Residents of Bandarini, a slum at the seashore in Mvita constituency, on Friday evening burnt a heap of garbage dumped in their neighbourhood by a private developer.

 

They condemned the private developer who uses the garbage to reclaim part of the sea and develop the land for commercial purposes.

Bombole Mwavita, a village elder, said they have raised their concerns with the authorities but their plight has fallen on deaf ears.

“We have blocked this man from bringing garbage here but he always uses the police to intimidate us. Our children have been arrested and locked up several times because of this,” Mwavita said .

Mwavita told the Star the garbage exposes them to health risks, especially their children.

Most of the residents walk bare feet because they cannot afford flip flops or shoes. Their main economic activity is fishing but that has also been affected by the garbage.

“Our customers no longer buy our fish because they say the surrounding has become toxic and they fear the fish could be harmful to them,” said Mwavita, who is also a fisherman.

 

There are about 1,500 people living in Bandarini village.  The private developer buys garbage from different garbage collectors and dumps it at Bandarini village at the shores of the Indian Ocean.

Once the garbage reaches a certain level, he comes with hired youth to compact the garbage.

After two weeks, the garbage is deemed to have compacted enough to build a temporary or semi-permanent house.

He then build the semi-permanent houses which he either rents or sells.

On Wednesday, the villagers stopped two carts that were ferrying garbage to their neighbourhood and confiscated them.

The private developer then sent police to the village and four youth were arrested.

The villagers with Tudor MCA Tobias Samba protested against the move and went to Makupa police station to seek their release. The youth were later set free.

On Friday, the youths were rearrested but were never taken to the police station.

They were driven in private cars believed to belong top police officers for about five hours, all the while in handcuffs before they were released.

Mohammed Tsuma, a youth living in Bandarini, said the private developer has destroyed the mangrove trees at the seashore. These are breeding places for fish.

“Now, when we go out to fish, there are less catch because the fish have gone elsewhere. Their breeding places have been destroyed,” Tsuma said.

He noted that the houses built by the private developer are not strong, with some showing signs of sinking.

He said the water reaches their houses when the tides are high. The water caries the garbage into their houses, exposing them to health risks.

Samba said the private developer has been acting with impunity and it is time he is arrested.

“He hires youths to dump garbage to a residential area, which is wrong. Then he uses the police to intimidate the villagers. That is not acceptable,” the MCA said.

He has reported the matter to Nema. “No one is allowed to dump garbage at Bandarini or anywhere else that is not a designated dumping site,” Samba said.

On Thursday morning, a comittee was formed to ensure that the Bandarini environment is kept clean.