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Cartels, City Hall turned Nairobi garbage into major problem

Immediately after the Christmas holidays, Muthurwa Market and other markets in Nairobi were choking in garbage.

This was also the case in some city estates including Pipeline, Umoja and Huruma. Mountains of uncollected garbage were slowly attracting scavengers.

When Nairobi Governor Johnson Sakaja took over the office he promised to curb the problem by among other measures setting up collection points in all sub-counties.

Sometime in 2022, a special unit dubbed County Environmental Compliance and Monitoring was formed to pursue those dumping illegally.

In their operation on November 4 that year, some officers from the unit arrested a supermarket manager for illegal waste dumping.

No other arrest has been reported in relation to illegal dumping but some quarters now argue that the garbage problem could be a hard matrix to solve unless some cartels and individuals at City Hall are weeded out.

And now Muthurwa market chairman Nelson Githaiga has explained that the garbage problem in Nairobi needs a proper approach to fix it once and for all.

Githaiga claims garbage collection in the city is a business that involves cartels and some county officials.

“Garbage is paid in tonnage, that is why those contractors wait for the waste to pile up for weeks so that they can collect,” he explained.

“Muthurwa market has been turned into a dumping site because all the wastes from the city centre are brought to the market. Ideally, the garbage is supposed to be collected on a daily basis,” he explained.

Githaiga says the county government ought to station a truck in the market so that traders can dump there before being transported to the dumpsite.

“Cartels and City Hall have turned the collection into a business but it puts lives of people in danger because next to the collection points are traders who sell vegetables and fruits. In case of an outbreak of diseases many will be affected,” he said.

“The mountain of garbage usually blocks the access road to the market which messes with infrastructure mostly during the rainy season because the sludge is acidic,” he added.

County Environment Director Paul Malawi, when reached for comment said the tractors used in garbage collection in Muthurwa market broke down during the Christmas period.

“There was laxity in whichever way, only that there was a breakdown of tractors at Mathuwa but in the estates the work is ongoing,” he said.

However, Eric Ambuche the Founder Slums Outreach argues that garbage collection in the city has been a perennial problem in Embakasi South mostly in the Mukuru area.

“The garbage piles up until the county officers are pushed to collect. Two months ago, we were up in arms until a response came from the county stating that the garbage trucks had no fuel and contractors had not been paid,” Ambuche claimed.

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