Diverse views mar public participation forum on proposed landfill

Residents from parts of Maragua Constituency in Murang’a were Tuesday divided on a proposed sanitary landfill to be established in the area.

Majority of people from Gikono and Mitumbiri areas where the project will be implemented supported the landfill saying it will ensure they get a tarmacked road in the area.

Those from neighbouring areas of Methi, Kabati and Swani objected the project expressing fear the management of the landfill may be poor, turning it to a dumpsite like that of Dandora in Nairobi.

The residents feared poor transportation of waste to the landfill may affect their areas due to littering.

Officers from Nairobi Metropolitan Services Improvement Project (NaMSIP) held their first public participation at Peter Kariuki Secondary school few metres from the areas designated to put up the sanitary landfill.

In March, Transport and Infrastructure Cabinet Secretary Mr. James Macharia issued a directive to stop implementation of the project until public participations were conducted in the area.

A resident of Kabati area George Munene objected the project saying NaMSIP has not clarified on how the toxic waste will be handled since the landfill will only handle waste which can decompose.

After sorting the waste, we are not told how the waste which cannot decompose will be handled. We are not told how the trucks to ferry waste to the site will ensure there is no littering like the case in Nairobi, attested Munene.

Meshack Kimuru on his side supported the project arguing that there was more waste in the county which is not well managed.

Currently there are heaps of waste in each and every local town and its better the landfill than seeing waste accumulating everywhere posing health risk to residents, posed Kimuru.

He said the project will ensure cleanliness in the county since all waste will be handled at the landfill.

On her part Maragua MP Mary Waithera said she is not against the project, but NaMSIP should manage the project for five years after completion of the project.

Waithera dismissed the option to hand over the project to the local county government fearing the landfill may not be managed well.

My prayer is to have specialized personnel to handle the landfill after the NaMSIP hand it over to local county government. The county government has its challenges and giving it another responsibility may be unsuccessful, noted the legislator.

An environmentalist engineer in charge of the project Mr. Peter Mbudi allayed fears that the project will pose health hazards to the locals.

Mbudi said the landfill will be done in a manner that underground water will be protected from pollution.

He said the project; to be funded by World Bank at a cost of Sh. 1.2 billion will help the Murang’a county government manage waste which is estimated at 270 tonnes per day.

The Landfill, Mbudi said will be in operation for 20 years and be closed, saying the government will tarmac local roads leading to the landfill.

He said they are expecting to be through with the public participation by June 2018 and if they obtain approval, they will go ahead to implement the project.

Source: Kenya News Agency