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South Rift faces waste headache

By Caroline Chebet | Published Mon, August 20th 2018 at 00:00, Updated August 19th 2018 at 22:20 GMT +3
Gioto dumpsite in Nakuru. [Kipsang Joseph, Standard]

Counties in the South Rift are struggling to manage rising piles of garbage.

According to county officials, securing land for dumping sites, funding and lack of private partners has made managing solid waste a nightmare.

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In Kabarnet town, the Baringo County government secured land for a dumpsite only to face protests from residents who blocked any attempt to dump waste on the grounds.

According to the county executive for environment, Scola Kimeli, land speculators hiked prices when they get wind of plans to set up a dumpsite.

Attract investors

Also, the investment has failed to attract many partners and investors.  

“We have a very small budget and we do not have partners or investors who have expressed an interest in waste recycling,” said Ms Kimeli.

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In Marigat, the county secured land for a dumpsite but it has yet to be put to use.

“It lies on a sloppy ground and cannot be used as it will be hazardous to the people living downhill. We are negotiating with the Lands ministry to assist us secure an alternative parcel for a dumpsite,” she said.

There are similar challenges in Bomet County, where securing land and cash to set up dumpsites is an uphill task.

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“Even the current dumping site at Bomet town has issues because we have a case with a university that is also claiming the land,” said the county's director of environment, Paul Maritim.
 
According to Mr Maritim, there are no garbage recycling initiatives in the county except scrap metal and plastic bottle dealers. Most of the county is still not connected to a sewerage system.

In Nakuru, residents have not yet fully grasped the concept of garbage recycling.

“Demystifying the myths and changing attitudes on consuming recycled products will open the way to zero-status waste,” said the county director of environment, Murithi Kiogora.

He said most of the waste produced in urban centres in the county was organic and could be easily recycled to produce manure.

According to the National Environmental Complaints Committee (NECC), most of the counties are facing massive challenges in managing solid waste and this is further complicated by low funding and poor infrastructure.

“A lot of developments are taking place, hence the generation of loads of waste. The counties have yet to upgrade to landfills and are still stuck on dumping sites,” said John Chumo, the committee's secretary.

He said waste collection was generating complaints from residents in all the 47 counties.

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Periodic report

In a 2017 report by NECC on regional waste management, the committee said Mombasa, Nairobi, Kisumu, Eldoret, Thika and Nakuru were the top generators of waste, much of which went uncollected.

According to the report, 3,962 tonnes of waste go uncollected in the six towns that generate an estimated 6,000 tonnes of waste daily.

Environmental activists have asked the Government to consider exempting taxes on waste recycling equipment.

This, they said, would encourage more investors to venture into the sector and help eradicate the plastics menace.

“The Government should consider exempting taxes to ease recycling and help counties deal with the challenge of managing solid waste,” said James Wakibia.


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