On the surface, Nyeri Town appears to be one the cleanest, with well-planned parking spaces, clean streets, strategically placed markets and a cool environment.
But beneath this apparent glamour lies an unsavoury story of residents who endure living in a filthy environment due to poor garbage management.
Dumping of waste in Nyeri Town has been a big problem for residents since many of the communal garbage receptacles that had been constructed by the county government were demolished and people told to store waste in polythene bags.
Asian Quarter Dumpsite, Nyeri Town’s main garbage dumping point and apparently the main cause of discomfort to residents who live around it, is a serious health hazard
The site holds mountains of garbage which include household wastes, used glass bottles and other broken glass waste and polythene materials.
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The site lacks a perimeter wall to prevent people from entering. It is a resting place for street children who also spend many hours searching for valuables. Herders also graze their livestock around there.
But all this is set to change, thanks to some residents who see this as an opportunity to conserve the environment. George Mwangi, a resident of Mweiga, Kieni East, is one such resident. He has not only stepped in to resolve the garbage mess but also to exploit the business opportunity it has brought his way.
“Whenever I walked around, I would see waste strewn on the streets. I thought I could do something to conserve the environment as well as earn a living,” says Mwangi.
Mwangi started collecting polythene papers, glass and plastic bottles. He then approached a company that recycles polythene papers and bottles which gave him a contract to supply the items for recycling.
Today, he collects heaps of bottles and polythene papers to a point from where they are transported to the company for recycling.
“This work has two benefits: I earn a living from it and also helps conserve the environment,” he says.
He has employed three people on casual basis to collect broken glasses.
Another resident, Peter Waweru, who keeps pigs in Skuta, has taken to burning waste around Majengo, seeing that litter has covered even roads in the slum. “I come to burn these waste here daily. People fear dumping them during the day and do it at night. If I do not do this, Majengo would swim in filth,” he says.
He, however, does the work for free.