Solid waste management is a major problem in most developing nations, and Kenya is no exception. Poor solid waste management has resulted into serious health issues to those living around and working at the Dumpsite and a case at hand is the Dandora Dumpsite. The United Nation Environmental Program [UNEP] in the year 2007 warned that the dumpsite poses a serious threat to the children living nearby citing a study it did commissioned, where a sample from 328 children up to the age of 18 was taken. The study found out that half of the children had concentrations of lead in their blood exceeding internationally accepted levels and 42% of the soil samples recorded lead levels almost 10 times higher than what is considered unpolluted soil. Half of the children tested were suffering from respiratory diseases, including chronic bronchitis and asthma.
The Dandora Dumpsite is just a classical example of the mess when it comes to solid waste management, there are also other instances in other places in the county of Nairobi where there is indiscriminate dumping of waste and as Nairobi is set to undergo a major social and economic transformation in the coming years, there is going to be a significant growth in waste generation which will put considerable strain on already constrained public and private sector waste services and infrastructure, hence an invitation to relook on how the situation can be remedied for the betterment of Nairobi constituency especially around and within Dandora Dumpsite
In relooking at the best mechanism to handle waste in the county of Nairobi city, it must be born in us the understanding that despite dangers associated with the menace, the same can be a blessing if exploited well towards generation of employment opportunities to many young people in the city. There has been discussion in various spaces for the relocation of the dumpsite to Ruai which is 30km east of Nairobi City Centre. The proponents of the idea point out that Ruai has got enough space and indeed does not have many people living there, hence the relocation will have a reduced health Hazard to the county of Nairobi. This suggestion has been met with allot of opposition from the residence of Ruai who augured that they are not children of a lesser God who deserve transfer of danger to their doorsteps and in the words of Korogocho Chief Mr. Antony Mwangi and I quote ‘being a residence of Ruai and having heard about those discussion in different spaces I occupy as a government officer the residence of Ruai will oppose such a plan for they know the dangers associated by the same’
With the growing opposition for the relocation of the dumpsite to Ruai, it is only important to do an outside the box thinking and towards this I recommend to the national government and the county government of Nairobi to work towards legislative frameworks that will see a demarcation of selected areas in all the sub counties of Nairobi to act as landfill reduction targets where county officials shall be tasked with sorting out of the waste products and separating those that can be recycled from the ones that can not be recycled, the ones that can be recycled should be recycled at the subcounty level and those that cannot be recycled should find their way in a selected place where they can be used to generate electricity for county of Nairobi and its environs after certification by National Environmental Management Authority |NEMA].
Through the recycling and generation of power cutesy of proper waste management, many young people shall get employment which in turn shall translate into a reduction in unemployment and crime rate in the county of Nairobi and the country at large.
The writer is Charles Ochieng, Youth Programs Officer, he can be reached through firstname.lastname@example.org