A section of Murang’a residents have changed their tune and now want the government to get alternative land to put up a proposed sanitary landfill.
The residents drawn from Kangangu and Gikono villages fear that the landfill to be constructed at Mitumbiri area will in future pose serious health and security risks to people and livestock.
The project to be funded by World Bank to the tune of Sh2 billion now hangs in balance despite the government having gone to an advanced stage towards implementation of the landfill.
On Friday, during a public participation at the area where the project will be implemented residents requested Nairobi Metropolitan Service Improvement Programme (NaMSIP), which is mandated to implement the project to look for an alternative land as they argued that 50 acres acquired by National Land Commission (NLC) in 2014 was inadequate.
Some of the residents who were sponsored by NaMSIP for benchmarking tour in Tanzania and South Africa argued that what they saw in the countries were just dumpsites.
They feared after construction of the land fill, the local county government may be unable to effectively operate the landfill, putting lives of local community at risk of contracting diseases.
In a meeting convened by Maragua MP Mary Waithira and KimororiWempa MCA Amos Murigi, the residents suggested to the national government to look for another land in the nearby fruit plantations, once their leases expire.
They said the waste from Murang’a and neighbouring counties to be dumped at the landfill is a lot and the piece of land set for the project is not adequate.
A Community elder NaftalyThairu who was a member of the delegation that visited South Africa, argued that they learned the local municipal council in charge of the landfill had 600 trucks, while NaMSIP has pledged to assign a single truck to Murang’a.
“The project will not be undertaken in our locality as value of our property will drop. Let the government go and get land elsewhere,” stated Thairu.
Another resident, John Wanguku, who went for benchmarking in Arusha, Tanzania to learn more about the sanitary landfill fears the project, will haunt the resident’s years to come.
He said during the public participation forums, NaMSIP failed to disclose advantages and disadvantages of the sanitary landfill project to the residents.
“What I saw in Arusha was just another dumpsite, if we allow the project to be done here, in future local community will be affected by diseases among other issues related to environmental concerns,” said Wanguku.
The local legislator said she will table a motion in parliament to compel the government acquire land in other parts of Murang’a to set up the landfill.
“What the delegation witnessed in Durban was a mere dump site and the residents should not be misled and confused that they will get employment,” said the Waithera.
Murigi noted that the county assembly will soon table a report on the landfill after a committee was charged with responsibilities to investigate the matter.
“Since the residents have rejected establishment of the dumpsite in their backyard the government should look for alternative site,” he said.
Last year, Murang’a senator Irungu Kang’ata raised concerns over the project saying there was need for elaborate public participation forums to educate residents on solid waste management.
NaMSIP has been conducting public participation forums on the sanitary landfill including taking local leaders and some members of the community for benchmarking tours to countries which have similar project.
By Bernard Munyao