City Hall has announced plans to halt the renewal of garbage collection contracts and rope in the National Youth Service (NYS) for a massive clean-up exercise.
Governor Mike Sonko announced on Tuesday that the contracts for firms hired to clean up the city and transport the waste to the Dandora dumpsite had expired.
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Citing the wanting state of garbage collection in some city estates and backstreets, Sonko said his administration was not keen on renewing the contracts.
“We have decided not to renew the contracts because we are trying to avoid the same old problems. When I was younger, garbage collection was done by the defunct (Nairobi City) council. We want to revert this role to the county,” he stated.
Sonko announced that the county government's environment department had devolved garbage collection and would incorporate NYS to help clean up the city.
He said the Sh700 million previously used to pay garbage collection contractors would be used to pay youths to do the job.
“The national government has already provided us with 50 military trucks to add to our existing fleet. We are also partnering with NYS in our clean-up exercise,” he said.
Sonko, who is also the co-chair of the Nairobi Regeneration Committee (NRC), a multi-agency team tasked with transforming the city in six months, announced that more than 40 international companies had applied to set up a waste recycling plant at the Dandora dumpsite.
The dumpsite was declared full in 1996 but lack of alternative land has hindered the establishment of a new one.
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“The recycling of waste to produce energy has been done in other cities; we want Nairobi to emulate Dubai,” added Sonko.
Former Governor Evans Kidero had identified a German firm to recycle garbage in Dandora at a cost of Sh28 billion. The company was meant to use the waste as raw material to generate up to 160MW of electricity daily.
But the firm withdrew from the project in 2016, citing lack of a title deed for the 30-acre waste yard.
Environment and Forestry Cabinet Secretary Keriako Tobiko, who is also a member of the NRC, said clean-up efforts in the city, including Nairobi River, were on course.
He said the exercise would include mapping out polluters, demolishing illegal structures and shutting down several slaughterhouses.
“The National Environment Management Authority has also written to City Hall to gazette 100 prosecutors who will be charged with preventing pollution. We need the support of the residents to make this work,” said Mr Tobiko.
This comes a day after a survey rated Nairobi and Mombasa the worst-performing counties, with sewerage and environmental cleanliness cited as the biggest concerns for residents.