How NMS plans to clean ‘city under the sun’
By Issack Mohammed | June 8th 2021
The city under the sun has been battling its waste management for decades now.
So bad is the situation that the issue of waste management has been used as a campaign gimmick each electioneering cycle.
However, Kenya’s capital has seen tremendous improvement in the last two years after the county was placed under the Nairobi Metropolitan Service headed by General Mohamed Badi.
As the world marks world environment day, NMS Environment Deputy Director Maureen Njeri talks about the challenges and solutions they have put in place to make the city cleaner and greener.
What is the plan for cleaning Nairobi’s Central Business District?
We have now put system place to ensure that we can now collect solid waste. If you would walk in the city from March this year, we have upped out game in collecting and washing the city, the job is done at night and during the day, this has been achieved by our collective plan of hiring more casual labourers to boost the county’s effort in garbage collection. And I am happy to announce that this step has yielded result and Nairobi is now cleaner than before.
How have you dealt with the headache of garbage collection in informal settlements?
We recognize the huge impact the informal settlement have when it comes to pollution of the environment if ignored or given a lacklustre service.
When we came into the office we found the situation in these areas in regards to waste collection and management lacking. As a directorate, we decided to engage the community to find possible working solutions in addressing this situation.
We tapped into community-based organizations (CBO) that are within those areas to help us in the collection of garbage. These CBOs used non-motorized transport to ferry waste to our collections point dotted across the city, and then we collect them using our trucks for disposal.
Our biggest challenge in these areas is creating awareness to ensure that residents in these areas hand over their waste to these youth groups rather than dumping the waste along the road, or even in the rivers. We have started this campaign and we are engaging community leaders in ensuring households learn the need for the safe disposal of their garbage and the importance of these CBOs in the value chain of waste management.
On our end, we have ensured the traditional problem of not clearing our collections point on time has been resolved. In our engagement with the community, we realized that the lack of clearing of collections point especially in informal areas pushes them in disposing of their waste in an unconventional way.
How have you dealt with lack of designated collection points in informal settlements?
While we are alive to the fact that we have a deficiency in collection points across the informal settlements, since we came to office we have ensured each sub ward has at least one collection point which is used by the CBOs.
Our sensitization program across the wards has seen us improving the collection of waste, this has been boosted by the fact that non-motorized transport is not allowed to dump their waste at Dandora dumping site, hence using our trucks we have been able to collect waste from this areas and take them to Dandora.
What is NMS’s long-term plan on waste management?
Together with the ministry of environment and natural resources the county now has a waste disposal action plan, which seeks to revitalize how we manage our waste as a county. The action plan which came into force in 2019 will change how we deal with our waste with a clear departure from the linear economy model of waste management to a circular economy model.
As it is now all we do is generate our waste and dump in Dandora, with no or little recovery for that matter but it is happening within the waste management value chain in this city, what we are now trying to do is to transition from the generate and dump behaviour into more sustainable ways such as recycling, composting and other waste recovery initiative. We have seen a lot of usage of waste from recovery and this has helped us in pushing into having a dumpsite that can be managed sustainably with the initiative that is coming up.
As we continue to implement this action plan we are now coming up with material recovery facilities. These are waste transfer stations whereby when waste is disposed of at this site it is sorted into various streams and recyclable waste are taken into the industry that can use them.
What cannot be recycled is transported to Dandora. Two of these facilities are already under construction one is at Muthurwa market another one is at Kangundo road. And we have plans to ensure each and every sub-county has a recovery facility. The action plans also realize the role of the private sector and industry and how they can help in making the city pollution-free.
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