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Malaba Municipality champions for effective management of solid waste in urban areas

Malaba municipality in partnership with Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), county government of Busia, forest department and learning institutions Saturday sensitized the public on the need to keep urban areas clean by getting rid of solid waste.

Through the Linda Mazingira Initiative, representatives from these organizations participated in a cleaning exercise at Malaba town before planting over 3,000 seedlings within the municipality.

The Linda Mazingira initiative targets to ensure urban areas are free from pollution caused by emission from trucks and solid waste dumped inappropriately, and in order to achieve this, they partner with the public.

And in support of the initiative, residents of Malaba Municipality planted trees at the Railway Station and six learning institutions.

Speaking to the press during the exercise Malaba Kenya Revenue Authority Manager Mr Aquilino Mwithalii urged the community to advocate for proper disposal of solid waste in towns and embrace the culture of planting trees along river banks to mitigate effects of floods while conserving water catchment areas.

“The way we handle waste within urban areas will determine the kind of environment we want to live in. If you are dumping litter everywhere, it shows how disorganized you are,” noted Mwithalii.

Mwithalii added that, there will be no need for tents if county residents embark on planting trees in institutions and homesteads to improve on the county’s tree cover which remains pathetic.

“As KRA, we support environmental conservation and planting of trees. Protection of society and environment and facilitation of Trade are our key priorities with tax collection being the other function we execute,” he said.

Acting Manager, Malaba Municipality, Brian Abwaku said as the second Municipality after Busia and with a population of 102,000 residents, they want to make the municipality environmentally friendly to attract investors.

Abwaku said the municipality covers 129 square kilometers and is composed of four wards which include Malaba Central, Malaba South and Amukura West.

“The most preferred method of disposal has been to throw the used diaper or sanitary pad in a pit latrine or a garbage bag. Most places, especially in the urban areas, no longer have pit latrines and if they exist, they aren’t deep enough hence the disposed diapers and sanitary pads still end up in the open,” noted Abwaku

He exuded confidence that as a municipality, they will meet the World Bank’s conditions to benefit from Kenya Urban Support Programme funding to the tune of Sh 200 million annually.

Linda Mazingira Initiative Managing Director, Patrick Ikwara on his part said they have already planted 52,150 tree seedlings in various hilltops and learning institutions in Teso North, Teso South, Matayos, Nambale, Bunyala, Samia and Kumi in Uganda which is part of  Mt Elgon Trans-boundary.

Ikwara said Linda Mazingira achieved this feat by partnering with SSSI0- USA environment Wing, adding that they are targeting to plant one million trees by 2027.

“We planted 3,000 trees today with 95 percent being indigenous and the rest assorted. The primary schools that benefited from the program include Malaba Township, Kajei, Model Junior Academy, Railways, Ekisegere, IsegereToto and Amoni.

On his part Teso North Sub County Kenya Forest Service Officer, Kennedy Ombati said Long Distance trucks carbon emission was putting border residents in danger, thus the urgent need to plant trees along the road from Malaba to Kocholia.

“This will also be in line with President William Ruto’s clarion call of planting 15 billion trees by 2030,” he said, noting that Busia County has very little tree cover and is ranked among counties with low tree cover.

A recent study by NEMA on waste management showed that most towns and cities in Kenya have inefficient waste collection and disposal systems. For instance, the study indicated that about 30-40 per cent of the waste generated in Nairobi is not collected.

Plastic bags remain the biggest nightmare to urban settlements within Busia town owing to the fact that Uganda has no restriction on the same.

By Absalom Namwalo

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