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Let’s reclaim Nairobi’s lost shine

COMMENTARY
By Dennis Waweru | April 2nd 2016

In the present-day highly competitive globe of shrinking markets and enhanced information access, impression is turning out to be everything. The impression you create as a country, as a city, as a people and even as an individual plays an important role in influencing perceptions and decision making in others.

For three years now, Nairobi City residents have been living alongside 2,400 tonnes of filth they churn out every day. The garbage menace has reached a crisis point as ineptitude, corruption and lethargy captures the function of solid waste management. Nairobi is not just any other city. It is the capital city of the country and the seat of the national government.

Nairobi is the last of places where heaps of smelly garbage should form towering mountains and obscure the beauty and the warmth of the people. It is needless to state the relationship between unmanaged waste and health complications. We are exposing our residents to numerous health hazards through the uncollected waste. It is unfortunate that those charged with keeping the city clean are only active when collecting fees.

The garbage menace is fast assuming a normalcy status where residents learn to live with it. Garbage is piling up along Jogoo Road, along Juja Road, in Githurai, Dagoretti and Kangemi and in city centre every other week. In the meantime, unmitigated infighting between contractors and City Hall is morphing into outright acts of sabotage with waste dumped in flowerbeds, rivers and roads to spite rival cartels. Lack of long-term planning and execution of available plans has occasioned the filling up of Dandora dumpsite and neglect led to take-over by gangs. The dumpsite is no longer accessible in the first place owing to poor roads.

The situation is untenable for city residents who pay the city county government for these services. Time is out of joint for the cartels in City Hall, their leadership, sponsors and protectors. They must begin packing their bags to give way to a leadership committed to redress all the wrongs they have committed on the city.

A sincere commitment from city leadership, a structured collaboration between the national government and county government, opening up of waste-disposal industry and structured engagement with residents and private sector could easily turn the tide against garbage. Waste management need not be viewed purely from the prism of commercial value rather from the utility of offering a clean environment to residents, investors and visitors alike.

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