County government, Green Belt to rehabilitate Gioto dumpsite

Nakuru County Government has in conjunction with the Greenbelt movement set out an ambitious programme to improve solid waste management at the Gioto dumpsite in Nakuru town.

Contrary to the County government’s earlier pledge and expectations by the residents, the devolved unit would not relocate the 27-acre dumpsite, which has been in use since 1974 due to unavailability of suitable land for its relocation.

In the joint collaboration, the County government and the Green Belt movement will work with 23 registered private garbage collectors in a programme to recycle waste into organic fertilizer.

The vast and congested dumpsite is situated atop Menengai hill, from where stormwater and garbage easily flow into the downstream Lake Nakuru National park, located at the town’s lowest point.

During rainy spells, flood waters and garbage overrun the adjacent Nakuru-Kabarak-Eldama Ravine Road rendering commuting a nightmare.

County Director of Environment Sammy Ngige Kimani said there were plans to set buffer greenery foliage in front and around the dumpsite in the area that is an eyesore.

Kimani indicates that the rehabilitation project involves the erection of earth embankments that would prevent the spillover of garbage to the road and adjacent estates.

The devolved unit’s Environment Department is also demarcating the site into portions where recyclable and biodegradable waste would be dumped separately.

The foliage buffer zone will be engineered to slow the flow of stormwater from this garbage site downstream and eventually into Lake Nakuru. This will save the lake from further disintegration. Annually, an average 20 tons of garbage, which mainly consist of plastic paper bags, is removed from the lake, observed the Director.

The County government’s department of environment indicates that Nakuru town, the fourth largest urban centre in Kenya within the devolved unit, generates approximated at 250 tons of waste daily.

Before changes were introduced in 2006, the average daily collection rate in Nakuru town was less than 30%. To resolve this challenge on domestic solid waste handling, the defunct Municipal Council of Nakuru (MCN) enacted 2006 Nakuru Environmental Management by-laws that paved the way for decentralized service delivery of domestic solid waste management.

New laws provide for decentralized service delivery for domestic waste collection, transportation, and disposal at the Gioto dumpsite.

Twenty six refuse management sites have been gazetted falling into three categories- Community Based Organizations, Private Waste Handlers and County government zone.

Despite privatization of garbage collection, stinking heaps have remained an eye-sore in most produce markets in Nakuru County creating unbearable conditions for trading.

Occasionally, residents have protested over uncollected garbage in markets and estates in Nakuru, Njoro and Molo among other areas.

However, according to Project Manager at the Green Belt Movement Teresa Muthoni, the situation is set to change after temporary collection fields from where the garbage will be sorted out for recycling are set up.

Instead of carrying the garbage to the main Gioto dumpsite in Nakuru, it will be deposited in the transfer stations and sorted out for recycling, we will be working with 23 registered garbage collectors in the programme said Muthoni.

She further noted that sorting of garbage at source reduces the cost of transporting it to the dumpsite while at the same time ensuring a cleaner environment and minimizes the load that eventually ends up at Gioto.

The County, she said, had conducted feasibility studies with the help of National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA), United Nations Development Programme and other partners on rehabilitation of the dumpsite.

Having the sites within the proximity of the market centers would facilitate sorting out of the garbage and recycling it, thereby reducing the number of deposits left on the surface. Our organization will use the organic fertilizer to plant trees while the surplus will be sold to local farmers at a subsidized rate, explains the manager.

Kimani said the devolved unit is committed to encouraging residents to engage in the recycling of garbage as a means of raising income.

The County government, he stated, was still open to cooperation with any investor committed to rehabilitating the dump-site which has been in existence since the colonial era.

He said over 20 recycling sheds would be constructed at the Gioto dumpsite to shelter youth and women groups engaged in transforming waste into valuable products.

In the envisioned rehabilitation work, the site will be demarcated into portions to separate various types of garbage.

National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) through deputy director of field operations Robert Orina observed that the dumpsite did not meet the required minimum standards.

He said it poses environmental and health dangers and therefore needed proper management.

An average of 45 percent of waste goes uncollected in six major towns across the Country according to a report by National Environmental Complaints Committee.

Nairobi, Kisumu, Thika, Nakuru, Mombasa and Eldoret towns generate estimated waste of about 6,000 tons per day. However, only 3,962 tons were collected while over 2,000 tons remained uncollected.

According to the report, Mombasa tops the list with 770 tons of uncollected waste although 65 percent of the 2200 tons of generated waste is collected on a daily basis.

Kisumu County, however, leads in those with the least efforts of collecting daily generated garbage. Only 20 percent is collected according to the report leaving behind 80 tons of uncollected waste.

Nairobi tops the list in the active waste collection where 80 percent of the daily generated garbage is collected. However, 240 tons of waste still remains uncollected.

Other towns including Eldoret leaves behind 270 tons of garbage uncollected on a daily basis, while Thika leaves fails to 60 tons and Nakuru 138 tons.

According to the report, complaints of waste management are rampantly reported constituting 26 percent of all complaints received and investigated by the team.

Source: Kenya News Agency