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Why infamous Kisumu dumpsite has refused to go away

By Harold Odhiambo | Published Thu, February 8th 2018 at 00:00, Updated February 7th 2018 at 20:59 GMT +3
An earth-mover scooping waste at Kachok dumpsite in Kisumu for relocation. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

County residents may have to contend with the pungent smell emanating from Kachok dumpsite for a longer period of time.

This even after the county government started moving some waste from the dumpsite to Kajulu in Kisumu East.

ALSO READ: Nyongo gets nod to relocate controversial Kachok dumpsite

Although county officials have vowed to ensure that the Kachok dumpsite is relocated, questions remain how the devolved government will handle the more than 300 tonnes of waste dumped there.

The county government is only moving inert waste that has been at Kachok dumpsite for the past 20 to 30 years, but not fresh waste material.

Interviews with a number of officials established that the county government will still use Kachok to dump waste produced daily within Kisumu and its environs.

This means that despite moving some waste to Kajulu, the Kachok dumpsite is likely to remain until a new site is identified.

Treated waste

Doris Ombara, the city manager who led the groundbreaking at Kajulu landfill site, said the process of relocating inert waste would take about two months. 

She noted that the county would only move inert waste after they have been treated with chemicals to kill germs.

“We will open tenders for anyone who can provide us with land where we can take the waste that the county produces daily,” said Ombara.

ALSO READ: Joho hints at imposing waste collection levy

Those who gave the county government a green light to use the garbage at Kachok to fill an abandoned quarry in Kajulu said no fresh waste should be dumped there.

Osiem Angira, an environmental officer with National Environmental Management Authority, said the county would continue using Kachok to dump fresh waste.

“We understand they are still looking for a new site for a dumpsite,” said Angira.

The search for a new dumpsite could pose a headache for Governor Anyang' Nyong'o as he seeks to address solid waste management in the lake side city.

Created friction

In the past, all locations that have been identified have created friction between locals and the county government, a scenario that is likely to be replicated as officials embark on a new search.

During former Governor Jack Ranguma’s tenure, all the places identified, including Muhoroni, were opposed by locals. Some of the areas were rejected even after the county government spent millions to buy land.

ALSO READ: Court halts relocation of Kachok dumpsite

As things stand, finding a permanent solution to solid waste management in the town hangs in the balance.