, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 17 – The government has partnered with 37 organisations to strategise on managing waste and the intended closure of the Dandora dumpsite, which is the only dumping ground for the city of Nairobi.
Under the aegis of Safer Nairobi (SANA), the group – which includes the ministries of Environment, Local Government and Heritage – said it planned to adopt an inclusive approach that will ensure the site is closed by 2012.
“We are involving the community in Dandora, the government, businessmen and Community Based Organisations (CBOs) to discuss the closure of the dumpsite,” SANA Coalition Chairman Reginald Okumu told Capital News.
He said SANA will consult widely to ensure challenges that have existed for about 30 years are tackled amicably to benefit all the parties involved.
Efforts to close down the site have been fruitless due to alleged powerful cartels that depend on it for their livelihoods. The site has turned into a multi-million shillings business venture, leading to stiff opposition over its intended closure.
But Mr Okumu said he was positive SANA will successfully close it down since it has included all interest groups to ensure those depending on it will be incorporated in an alternative infill site that will be located in Ruai, on the outskirts of Nairobi.
He urged the public to support the initiative by sorting their garbage in their houses which he said was a major activity that goes on at the Dandora dumpsite.
He said if the public sorts garbage that decomposes easily from the one that will need recycling, it will be easier to manage waste in Kenya.
Mr Okumu however cautioned that the closure of Dandora should not mean creating another big dumpsite at Ruai but an infill that will process waste.
He further appealed for adoption of modern methods of managing waste to minimise health and environmental dangers posed.
He pointed out that Dandora was a perfect example of health and environmental risks after a study done by the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) in 2007 indicated that over half of children tested had concentrations of lead in their blood exceeding internationally accepted levels and that most of them would not live to the age of 50.
According to UNEP, the 30-acre Dandora dumping site receives 2,000 tonnes of rubbish every day generated by about 4.5 million people living in Nairobi.
Despite rendering the site full and a health hazard in 2001, waste collected in Nairobi is still dumped there, spreading closer to the people living in Dandora.
The UN environmental programme said over 900,000 people are directly affected by the dumpsite.
Under the ‘Stop Dumping Death on US campaign’ SANA intends to enlist more groups and people to ensure the site is closed in the stipulated time.