Court stops waste recycling plant setup at the Dandora dumpsite

A section of Dandora dumpsite with huge mountain of garbage March 10, 2020. [Edward Kiplimo, Standard]

Heaps of waste at Dandora dumpsite will continue piling up after a Nairobi court issued an order stopping a Chinese company from constructing a recycling plant.

Environment and Lands Court judge Edward Wabwoto issued the order barring Nairobi City County Government from awarding the Sh47 billion contract to China Electric Engineering Company pending determination of a suit filed by a resident challenging the project.

“An order is issued suspending the decision of the Nairobi County Government awarding the tender to design, fiancé, build, operate, maintain and transfer a waste to energy processing plant at Dandora dumpsite to China Electric Engineering Company,” ruled Wabwoto.

The petitioner, Advin Muthomi Mbae in his suit filed through lawyer Kelvin Gitari, claimed that the project was illegally being undertaken without public participation and feasibility study to determine how the residents in Dandoraestate will be affected.

According to the petitioner, there is an existing court order for Nairobi county government to relocate the dumpsite from Dandora and that allowing the construction will mean they have no intention to relocate the dumpsite.

Gitari argued that putting a waste recycling plant in the same location where the county government has been ordered to stop disposal of waste is disrespect to the judiciary and waste of public resources.

“The amount of public resources in the project is Sh47 billion which is too high and means that the public are likely to suffer extensive financial losses in the event that the company is allowed to proceed with the construction,” said Gitari.

Mbae, a resident of Dandora, swore in his affidavit that they are suffering because of the choking foul smell emanating from the dumpsite and that building the recycling plant will not be a solution to the waste problem.

He claimed that construction of a waste to energy plant within Dandora dumpsite will involve burning of toxic and radioactive substances with the emission going directly to households, which poses a risk to their health.

He accused the county government of operating the dumpsite in disregard of the court order that they relocate to another area and without observing the health guidelines imposed by the court.

“The court had previously given the county six months to relocate the dumpsite from July 2021 but instead of complying with the order, they are bringing another company to build a recycling plant which shows they have no intention to relocate the dumpsite,” swore Mbae.

Mbae said there was no public participation. Justice Wabwoto gave the county government 14 days to respond and scheduled the hearing on October 23.