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Badi city sinking in stinky trash

By David Njaaga | Mar 24th 2022 | 4 min read
By David Njaaga | March 24th 2022
Solid waste dumped outside City Market on March 22, 2022. [David Njaaga, Standard]

The once green city in the sun is now a pale shadow of its former self.

Nairobi is fast becoming filthy, with heaps of garbage and smelly raw sewer oozing from many corners.

The eyesore is a mockery of the beautification efforts by the Nairobi county government and the Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS).

A spot check established a significant number of cases of raw sewer emanating from burst pipes, plus some clogged drainages.

At the City Market, the smell of rotten flowers and food residues release a pungent smell to traders, customers and passerby.

Residents have had to put up with a stench of dumped waste at the market in the city centre.

It is now emerging that the bad smell at the City Market is affecting businesses, with target customers avoiding the place.

Mr Mike Kimundia, a flower vendor at the market, says he has been recording low sales.

“Even those we consider loyal customers do not come here owing to the stench,” says Mr Kimundia.

In addition to this, the garbage collection point just outside the market has now become a wandering spot for criminals who disguise themselves as street boys collecting the waste.

The situation is not different at the Bus Station next to Ronald Ngala street, Taveta, Tsavo and Dubois roads.

In one of the city's dingy corridors, you find littered waste mixed with stagnated raw sewage.

Mr Eliud Ng’eno, who frequents the area, complains of the broken sewerage system.

Garbage lies uncollected waste outside along Muindi Mbingu Street on May 21, 2021. [Samson Wire, Standard]

“The situation is worse during rainy seasons. I feel for the street children because these are some of the spots they call home,” he says.

Dumping sites

Some of the litter bins that were strategically placed in the city are missing and the few available ones are far apart, some of them destroyed.

Between Aga-Khan Walk and Moi Avenue, city dwellers have turned the concrete flower pots into litter bins.

Some in Mfangano Lane and Dubois Street have been turned into dumpsites. People found dumping waste have been arrested.

Traders accuse NMS of turning the city into a dumping site, hindering business operations.

Efforts to get a comment from City Hall and the NMS were futile. Environment CEC Larry Wambua directed The Standard to NMS, whose Communications Director Mr Tonny Mbarine did not pick calls by the time of going to press.

NMS Director of Environment, Water and Sanitation Services Maureen Njeri declined to comment on the matter.

“I am not authorised to speak to the media. Kindly get in touch with our communications team to help you with any issue you may be having,” she said on phone.

Waste in numbers

Nairobi generates 3,000 tonnes of waste in a day, but this increases by about 20,000 tonnes every year due to population growth.

In 2021, NMS targeted to increase garbage collection to 3,200 tonnes daily by 2022. The state agency collected 2,800 tonnes of garbage daily against a target of 3,000 tonnes.

NMS announced it had designated 35 new garbage collection points to end the proliferation of illegal dumping sites in Nairobi.

In June last year, NMS, in conjunction with the Environment Ministry, launched a campaign aimed at reducing waste dumping in the city.

NMS boss General Mohammed Badi, in an earlier interview, said the county was in the process of constructing material recovery centres in the 17 sub-counties for the collection of segregated waste.

Another notable area with filth is Marikiti Market.

Motorists, cart pullers and pedestrians run over the waste, risking the lives of the traders and consumers. 

“We find the situation normal here now, after years of raising our concerns without action, we finally decided to work for our children as we got tired of singing the same song every day,” John Mwangi, a hawker at Marikiti market observes.

The market is known for its role to supply food consumed in the capital.

A spot check at the Muthurwa bus stage also paints an ugly picture of how dire the situation is.

Bad smell of urine blows from the newly constructed perimeter wall separating the Muthurwa market and the Kenya Railways Corporation.

Passers-by and traders shamelessly urinate on the wall overlooking Muthurwa police station.

“There are no rules here, people behave the way they feel including urinating anywhere. And all this is happening under the watch of the city inspectorate team,” said Lucy Mueni, a hawker at the market.

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