Solve city garbage crisis

What you need to know:

  • Each of Nairobi's five million residents generate 0.62 kilos of garbage per day.
  • However, nearly 30 per cent of the garbage remains uncollected daily.

Garbage collection and disposal poses a massive challenge to Nairobi and other major towns. However, it is an essential service that must be effectively discharged to curb pollution.

The residents of these urban centres need a clean environment, which is being hampered by the haphazard efforts by ill-equipped and inefficient service providers.

As the population grows, so does the amount of solid waste discharged. Each of the city’s five million residents is estimated to generate 0.62 kilos of garbage per day.

According to available statistics, nearly 3,000 tonnes of solid waste is created in Nairobi daily by the residents, industry and commerce. However, nearly 30 per cent of the garbage remains uncollected daily.

Unfortunately, this is an area that has been invaded by cartels, whose motivation is profiteering at the expense of service to the residents, as the job is poorly done for quick gains.

In response, Governor Johnson Sakaja plans to establish the Nairobi County Solid Waste Management Authority to help drive out the garbage cartels.

Garbage collection and disposal

As the authority is set up, the city county will enhance its own capacity to take control of garbage collection, edging out private players. The governor has owned up that there is a lot of sabotage and corruption in this business.

However, the city county should tread carefully here. Eliminating private service providers may not necessarily be the solution. Public ventures in the national and county governments are often bureaucratic and inefficient.

Where private players are properly vetted and charged with clear responsibilities, they can do a good job.

Well-controlled, these private enterprises can complement the efforts of the public entities to enhance efficiency and it is possible in garbage collection and disposal.

If the problem, as the governor states, is that the county cannot sustain the private garbage collectors’ high charges, then, perhaps, they should be reviewed.

This is a service that must be improved for a cleaner environment for the urban dwellers.