Kajiado residents protest illegal dumping of garbage as waste-yard fills up

Kitengela garbage

Trucks dumping garbage at the Kitengela Noonkopir village dumpsite on February 19, 2924.

Photo credit: Stanley Ngotho | Nation Media Group

Residents of Noonkopir village in Kajiado East sub-County have raised the red flag over the illegal dumping of waste in their neighbourhood.

They said piles of stinking garbage have spilt over from the designated dumpsite into the residential area, exposing them to diseases. The 2.5-acre landfill is reportedly filled to capacity, with its perimeter wall collapsing and private garbage collectors continuing to dump waste there.

A powerful cartel that is said to be in control of the facility is reportedly allowing in garbage from as far as Nairobi and Machakos. Each lorryload of trash is charged between Sh1,000 and Sh2,500.

"The cartel thrives on intimidation and instilling fear in the neighbourhood. They seem to have protection from high offices," said one resident.

The dumpsite serves the populous Kitengela town and its environs.

In 2017, the National Environment Management Authority had called for the closure of the dumpsite but the orders were not effected.

The county government’s Mali ni Taka initiative, which was to see local women trained on how to recycle garbage, suffered a false start.

When Nation visited the dumpsite on Monday, there were hardly any Mali ni Taka project women present at the facility. The much-anticipated garbage sorting and processing unit is yet to be operationalised, attracting condemnation from the members of the public.

According to the dejected residents, the garbage menace in the area is a ticking time bomb.

"Our houses are uninhabitable owing to the bad stench. Our cries to the county government have been ignored. We fear for our health,” Mr Joshua Onyango, a local, told Nation.

Landlords in the area lamented that they were having a hard time attracting tenants to their buildings. The houses have been left vacant with tenants and a few homeowners moving elsewhere.

 “The authorities have allowed a dumpsite to be established within a residential area and have continued to bury their heads in the sand despite the public outcry,” said Mr John Wambua.

The dumpsite, which serves the populous town of Kitengela and its environs, remains an eyesore for residents, exposing the devolved unit's underbelly of poor waste management.