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The city in the sun bloated with garbage

By | Oct 30th 2010 | 2 min read

By Mutinda Mwanzia

Solid waste management services in the capital city are a thorny issue and are mainly administered by the Department of Environment at the City Council of Nairobi.

Most of the garbage finds its way to the 32-acre Dandora dumpsite, which serves as the city’s main refuse disposal site.

Residents in estates near the dumpsite have called for its relocation to Ruai along the Kangundo-Nairobi highway, saying it is an environmental and health hazard.

"The situation is very bad especially when the council begins to burn the garbage," says Anne Otieno, a resident of Dandora.

She says children often complain of respiratory problems a lot because of the smoke they inhale.

City Clerk Philip Kisia says efforts were being made to clean up the city and its environs by adapting better and modern methods of waste management.

Kisia says efforts were also being made to relocate the dumpsite to the outskirts of the city to minimise its negative effects on human beings.

He says that since he took over the council, measures have been put in place to streamline garbage collection, adding that the council was planning to partner with the National Youth Service to manage waste.

"This will also reduce the amount of money the council uses to pay contractors who collect the waste," says Kisia.

The garbage collection services are regulated through the City By-laws on solid waste management as well as other administrative procedures and policies adopted by the City Council.

Selection of contractors

However the council has been on the spotlight due to the increasing garbage mounds especially in city estates.

Even worse is the fact that the council has not increased its capacity to manage solid waste generated by households despite the city’s ballooning population.

Investigations show that the council allocates nearly 15 per cent of its total annual expenditures to solid waste management.

The council has also embarked on reducing garbage pile-ups within the Central Business District

"The council has also sought to control generation of waste in the CBD by installing dustbins and deploying inspectors to arrest and charge in court those who litter the streets," says City Council Director of Environment Engineer Christine Ogut.

She says the council has also, through regular cleaning of city roads, minimised litter that was previously common along the major highways and city roads.

However, the council has been faulted on how the selection of contractors bidding for contracts to transport waste is done.

"Firms lacking adequate capacity in finance, management and equipment win tenders, which they however fail to execute," says a city business.

He said some winners of contracts for waste transportation are small operators with old lorries with unmotivated workers.

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