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County to partner with foreign firm to resolve garbage menace

The Nakuru County government has announced a plan that will see the solid waste at dumpsites across the County turned into useful byproducts such as organic fertilizers.

Nakuru County Executive Committee Member (CECM) in charge of Water, Environment, Energy, Natural Resources and Climate Change Dr Nelson Maara said the County government is committed to resolving the garbage problem afflicting the residents

Other materials like glass, paper, plastic and metals will be recycled if a deal is reached between the devolved unit and an Austrian firm, Komptech.

During a meeting with the Komptech firm’s Chief Executive Mr Markus Maierhofer at the county headquarters, the CECM noted that the county stands to increase its revenue base and create more jobs besides improving health and sanitation to millions of the residents once the deal is sealed.

Maara disclosed that the County government had commenced talks with the investor, but added they were yet to settle on the cost of the project, and assured residents that all solid waste would be transformed into useful items including organic fertilizers.

While acknowledging that the county population was growing at a rate of between 7 to 10 percent per year, which he said translated into increased solid waste, Maara said the County will continue facilitating the formation of solid waste management associations which comprise private waste service actors to enable them effectively manage waste at the site.

He expressed regret that rapid urbanization, improved economic situation and industrialization had transformed solid waste management into one of the greatest challenges facing major urban centres in Kenya.

Maara however, underscored the need for placing a special emphasis on the potential of conversion of waste into organic fertilizer to bring positive change and wealth into communities.

“We need innovative technologies and approaches that change the way we think about, use and treat solid, liquid, domestic, industrial and commercial waste. Nakuru needs to explore the 5Rs of rethinking, refusing, reducing, reusing and recycling to transform waste to wealth,” he said.

Maara added that from innovating waste management through the 5Rs, Nakuru could resolve not only the challenge, but also create employment, promote economic growth, improve health and ecosystems which in turn contributes to a happier, greener and healthier county, and can create enormous savings for the devolved unit.

“Sustainable waste management will contribute towards checking climate change. It has the capacity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent. Waste can also be turned into useful raw materials that can make stationery, fabrics and other value-added products,” he said.

Lack of adequate waste management has resulted in excessive air, soil and water pollution, threatening public health, ecosystems and biodiversity, as well as accumulating immense quantities of waste in Nakuru’s lakes and rivers.

Komptech CEO, Maierhofer indicated that his firm will provide the necessary solid waste recovery equipment and train workers on machinery operations before handing over the processing plant to the county government to manage.

He said the project once fully operational will generate revenue for the county administration and create job opportunities in the circular economy while providing a lasting solution to the Giotto dumpsite landfill.

A number of investors, both local and international, have previously approached the county government seeking to convert the waste into a profitable venture but most of them eventually go quiet on the intentions.

The devolved unit has already embarked on rehabilitation of the 30-acre Giotto dumpsite and an earth embankment and buffer greenery foliage have been put up to prevent spillage of garbage onto the Nakuru-Kabarak road during the rainy seasons. The dumpsite was established in 1974 and about 200 trucks drop waste at the site each day.

The Environment department has also demarcated the dumpsite into portions where recyclable and biodegradable garbage is disposed separately. According to a feasibility study conducted by the World Bank in 2017, about 300 metric tonnes of solid waste are processed at the site per day.

An average of 45 percent of waste goes uncollected in Nakuru, according to an official report by the National Environmental Complaints Committee. According to the report, Nakuru city generates an estimated 6,000 tonnes of waste daily. However, only 3,962 tonnes are collected while more than 2,000 tonnes remains uncollected. Eight five percent of waste generated in urban centres in Nakuru originates from homes.

By Esther Mwangi

 

 

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