Sakaja defends city's garbage collection system as robust

Sakaja said the Green Army and purchase of new equipment has enhanced internal capacity

In Summary
  • Governor Johnson Sakaja said the county has awared a contract to a Chinese firm to set up a power plant at Dandora dumpsite.
  • The county boss said his administration is working with CBOs on estate garbage collection mode to enhance efficiency.
Nairobi county workers load garbage into a truck at Kangemi on February 28, 2024.
Nairobi county workers load garbage into a truck at Kangemi on February 28, 2024.
Image: FILE

Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja has maintained that his administration has a robust strategy to clean up the city and eliminate garbage.

Speaking during an interview with Citizen TV on Tuesday night, Sakaja said his government will make radical and crucial interventions to end garbage menace in the city.

He said the interventions will ensure a lasting solution to the Dandora dumpsite crisis.

Governor Sakaja defended the county's dependency on the private sector to collect garbage, saying his administration is instead focusing on building internal capacity.

“What we have done is that we have built the county’s internal capacity to collect this garbage. We have procured 50 skip tracks, 10 skip loaders, 24 tippers that have come in and 24 refuse compactors for us to build our capacity,’’ he said.

He said the county has already awarded a contract to a Chinese firm that would turn the Dandora dumpsite into a power-generating site using garbage as a raw material.

The governor said the county government is embracing the road to a circular economy with an emphasis on material recoveries.

The circular economy is a model of production and consumption, which involves sharing, leasing, reusing, repairing, refurbishing and recycling existing materials and products as long as possible.

“We have awarded a waste-to-energy to China International Electrical Engineering Company that is going to convert the waste at Dandora dumpsite into 45 megawatts of power," Governor Sakaja said.

"They will also help us because that then becomes their raw material. There are countries that actually export garbage,’’ he noted.

Sakaja said he had decided to change the mode of garbage collection in the city because the initial one was unsustainable due to loopholes.

“It was just business. So you pay people and contractors would be paid on the weight of garbage at the disposal site which is Dandora,’’ he said arguing that the tonnes were being inflated.

“A lot of these bills were untenable if you calculate the weight they are charging as if you collect 9,000 tonnes of garbage every day yet we know Nairobi’s production is about 3,000 tonnes of garbage every day.’’

Besides enhancing internal capacity, Sakaja said the county has also recruited a team of 3,500 young people- the Green Army- who are collecting garbage and cleaning up the city.

The governor said the Green Army is turning around the whole idea of sanitation in the capital city with a major focus on the sub-county levels.

“Everywhere you go, you will see young people called the Green Army. The green army is the biggest environmental employment of young people in Nairobi. The last time that we had young people who sweep our streets and collect garbage was in the 1980s,’’ Sakaja said.

“Before the green army, you would find a constituency like Embakasi West to Embakasi East, from Utawala to Mihang’o to Donholm, having three or four elderly people who are now about to retire supposed to collect garbage.’’

The governor insisted that his administration will focus on priority areas to clean up the city but through sustainable and efficient modes.

“We have dump site challenges, but we continue to do it and build that capacity; you cannot completely rely on the private sector to clean the city,’’ he said.

Sakaja said they will work with hundreds of community-based organisations to collect garbage and put them at pick points on select days when tracks are assigned to collect garbage in their areas.

“We are working on a mode with them to agree when to bring it out so that they bring it on the day a truck assigned to collect garbage in that sub-county is coming to pick garbage,’’ he said.

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