With its constant growth, Nairobi’s garbage headache is likely to get worse. It currently generates 2,500 tonnes a day but can only collect about 1,500 tonnes.
A manager at the Dandora dumpsite told the Star the city needs a coordinated strategy to address its solid waste management challenges. Speaking in confidence, he said collection is just part of a solution to the bigger problem.
The manager said a strategy is needed that encompasses waste segregation at the source, clear processes of transfer, treatment and disposal of the waste. He said the current collection method is poorly managed, which poses health and environmental risks to city dwellers.
The officer called for door-to-door training of residents in estates and slums on the importance of managing the waste they generate.
“What is troubling is that most Nairobians have a bad attitude towards waste disposal,” he said.
He said basic by-laws on waste management that can be understood even by a class three pupil should be formulated urgently to overhaul the existing guidelines.
“Waste management lessons should be introduced in schools at early stages because when children have a concept of proper disposal, they will do the right thing.”
Environment executive Larry Wambua says City Hall has devolved garbage collection to increase efficiency. He said to manage the little fleet they have, each ward has a team assigned to be in charge of waste collection.
These teams, he says will ensure garbage is collected from homes and put at a one-collection zone. After this, the teams communicate with the main coordination team, which assigns a lorry at least four times a week.
He said to avert the underhand deals at the dumpsite, the entire team was overhauled and new people put in place. City Hall has further terminated permits for contractors who were flouting the garbage collection rules. This, he said, include those who had been spotted emptying garbage along roads and those who falsified weights.
“We have made significant strides in clearing the illegal dumpsites, and we have turned the areas to recreational centres or children’s playgrounds,” Wambua said.
He said so far, the ‘Ngarisha Jiji’ initiative has seen piles of garbage cleared in several estates and wards, including City Primary, Embakasi, Langata Road, Taj Mall, Capitol Hill and Kilimani.
Others are St Mary’s Mission Hospital in Langata, Kitanga Road in Kwangware, St Veronica, Uhuru Market, Umoja Estate and Majengo.
RECYCLING PLANT SOLUTION
Governor Mike Sonko says the next big project is to launch the waste recycling plant at the Dandora dumpsite. Once complete, he says, it will permanently address the garbage dumping problems, as well as create jobs for some youth.
“We can still do better but the efforts we have put in place are in order. Rome was not built in one day, and for that, we have introduced day and night operations at the dumpsite to beat traffic,” Sonko said.
He said the county is disposing written-off trucks and injecting more money in hiring more trucks to enhance collection.
“Tippers cost Sh8 million, and specialised garbage trucks that compress cost Sh20-30 million. For us, we would rather explore other alternatives that will help us manage the garbage,” he said.
The governor said the county is also introducing garbage ATMs and skips, which are expected to help curb illegal dumping.
"I better be a one-term governor with a good legacy than entertain cartels who are making our work in collecting garbage difficult," he said.