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Let us heed World Bank’s warning on garbage mess

By - | June 10th 2012

The World Bank warns of the garbage mess in our cities and towns.

The bank, in its latest report, What a Waste: A Global Review of Solid Waste Management, warns that the mounting mess could be more challenging than climate change.

It says as the world hurtles toward its urban future, the amount of municipal solid waste, one of the most important by-products of an urban lifestyle, is growing even faster than the rate of urbanisation.

Ten years ago, the bank notes, there were 2.9 billion urban residents who generated about 0.64kg of MSW per person per day (0.68 billion tonnes per year).

Today, these amounts have increased to about three billion residents generating 1.2kg per person per day (1.3 billion tonnes per year). By 2025 this will likely increase to 4.3 billion urban residents generating about 1.42kg/capita/day of municipal solid waste (2.2 billion tonnes per year).

In Kenya, we have fared badly in garbage management. Many of our towns and cities are littered with uncollected garbage and the situation seems to be getting worse each day.

This is why the World Bank statistics must jolt local authorities and stakeholders to action.

Waste management is the most important service a city provides and this usually falls within the local government’s purview.

As the report rightly notes, a city that cannot effectively manage its waste can hardly deliver more complex services such as health, education, or transportation. Let us heed the World Bank’s warning and improve our garbage management before it chokes us.

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