Garbage: Stink that haunts city three years later
As the third devolution conference came to a close on Friday, the Nairobi County Government was denying accusations from residents that it has lost control of the city’s waste management.
The city’s filth emanating from uncollected garbage in the CBD, broken sewers, impassable estate roads and endless traffic snarl-ups taint the Evans Kidero administration and make many Nairobians lose faith in devolution, analysts say.
The city authorities were defending Mr Kidero’s record even as mountains of garbage remained visible in parts of the city including Eastleigh, Embakasi, Kangemi, Kayole and Kawangware.
When our team visited Wakulima market, Nairobi’s largest fresh produce market, heaps of rotting garbage lay uncollected, an eyesore traders described as a familiar disaster.
Mr Henry Kinuthia, a loader at the market, said it boggled the mind that thousands of Nairobi residents got their vegetables and fruits from the market yet the level of sanitation was wanting and that there was not a single garbage bin in the entire compound.
Environment Executive Peter Kimori blamed the situation on the inaccessibility of Dandora dumping site, leading to slow movement of the collected garbage.
All the waste collected within the city is dumped at the 46-acre Dandora dumping site.
“Because the county’s 42 trucks cannot transport all the 2,500 tonnes of waste generated daily in the city, it contracted 24 private companies to help in garbage collection, but the companies went on a go-slow around December due to delayed payments,” said Mr Kimori.
He added: “We have initiated a programme to clear garbage and we started with high density areas (informal settlements) and we have also ordered for new 20 skips which will arrive by June and five trucks which arrive at the end of this financial year.”
While pointing out that City Hall has had a challenge in collecting the garbage, he said a contractor had been awarded a tender to renovate the main road leading to the dumping site to ease access.
John Osogo Road, an earth road that is the main entry point to the dumping site, becomes muddy and impassable every time it rains.
In this financial year, Nairobi City government was allocated Sh9.1 billion. It collected a further Sh4.7 billion in revenue, which many feel is enough to also handle sanitation.
“We have identified about five trucks which illegally dump garbage along backstreets at night and we have taken legal action against them,” said Mr Kimori who took over the environment docket 10 days ago.
Mr Isaac Muraya, chief officer in charge of environment at City Hall, cautioned the public against working with unlicensed garbage collectors.
“Some garbage fail to dump it at the designated point. We have sent out our environmental officer to monitor such cases,” Mr Muraya said.
In 1980, when Nairobi only had an estimated population of about two million people, the city had 230 trucks to collect its garbage. Today, some 36 years later, City Hall has only 42 trucks serving four million residents.
Former Environment Executive Evans Ondieki on Friday summed the garbage problem in the city by saying: “Garbage is dominated by cartels connected to top City Hall officials,” said Mr Ondieki.
The governor is also on the spot over tangible development projects. And his officials were yesterday at pains to explain what their boss’s major achievements were in the health sector.
In 2014, Dr Kidero unveiled a new 120-bed capacity maternity wing at Mbagathi Hospital as well as a 25-bed maternity facility at Mukuru Kwa Njenga, a slum area with high mortality rate.
This, his officials said, had saved hundreds of mothers the journey to the congested Pumwani Maternity Hospital.
The city also got a new maternity wing at Mutu-Ini Hospital in Dagoretti South while Karen, Dandora and Riruta health centres have been converted into 24-hour facilities. The administration also boasts of digital payment of county levies intended to fix pilferage by revenue collectors.
The revenue collected vis-a-vis the service delivery has sent tongues wagging with small business entrepreneurs producing documents to show licence fees have shot up by more than 100 per cent in under three years.
However, the rollout of the e-payment programme has faced sabotage but Deputy Governor Jonathan Mueke said it will soon fully bear fruit.