The new Mombasa County government administration has embarked on the removal of mounds of garbage at the illegal dumpsite on Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC) land.
The dumpsite on a 22.5-acre parcel sits directly off the main Mombasa-Malindi highway and a whiff of burning trash sometimes blows across the port city’s slow moving traffic and nearby residential areas.
Mombasa County Deputy Governor (DG) Francis Thoya who inspected the evacuation exercise at the illegal dumpsite on Monday said the heap of refuse has caused hazards over the years.
Thoya called on the residents to understand and cooperate with the devolved unit towards achieving a clean and healthy environment in the area.
The dumpsite in the VOK area of Nyali sub-county has been an eyesore to residents and tourists with growing complaints about the fast-growing dumpsite.
“One of our campaign pledges was to achieve a clean and healthy environment for all within 100 days of our administration,” said Thoya.
He went on, “this is an eyesore and we are determined to shut it down and we have already cleared other four illegal dumpsites at Manyimbo Cemetery, Markiti and Star of the Sea that witnessed unloading heaps of waste.”
Thoya said the harmful public health and environmental effects of the illegal dumping sites in the middle of residential areas can no longer be ignored and tolerated by the new county administration under Governor Abdulswamad Sharif Nassir.
The dumpsite has been at the centre of controversies between the previous county administration under former Governor Hassan Joho and the national broadcaster.
Since 2016 the devolved unit has refused to approve the construction of a perimeter wall despite KBC management meeting county requirements including approval before erecting the fence on their piece of land.
This led to a standoff between county askaris who stopped the construction and police officers deployed to oversee the wall’s erection.
Thoya said they intend to clear the mounts of garbage at VOK within seven days and that all waste will be directed to the designated dumpsite at Mwakirunge.
Thoya added that they had deployed 40 trucks to undertake the exercise which will be stationed at designated sites and that anti-damping officers will be deployed in all the illegal landfills closed.
Area (Ziwa la Ngombe) Member of County Assembly Hamisi Nyota thanked the county government for clearing the mountains of garbage which he said often spill over into residential areas during rainy periods.
Nyota lamented that the nauseating smell and endless smoke billowing from the area have been a major health concern to area residents and traders.
“The closure of this illegal dumpsite will spare the residents putrid smell and toxic fumes,” he added.
According to a UN Habitat Assessment Report of 2019, Mombasa produces about 1,000 tons of solid waste everyday but only manage to collect 60 per cent of it.
The remaining 40 per cent, the report indicated, finds itself on the streets and illegal dumpsites all the way to the ocean with some even blocking manholes for the storm water system in the county.
Plastic waste according to the report comprises 9 per cent whereby only half of it is processed for recycling.
By Mohamed Hassan