Lamu residents are pushing for the privatisation of solid waste management and disposal services in the county.
This follows years of the county grappling with poor waste disposal infrastructure.
Lamu’s key towns where a lot of garbage is generated have either one or no garbage collection tractors, with very few garbage collection points.
The situation has resulted in frequent piling of garbage without any timely collection by the county government.
Areas, where the problem has been rampant, include Lamu Old Town, Matondoni, Mokowe, and Mpeketoni.
Residents who talked to Nation.africa expressed worry that the uncollected garbage might cause an outbreak of diseases.
Muhashiam Famau, a resident of Lamu Old Town, accused the county government of neglect and laxity in ensuring hygiene in the town.
“Some of us can’t pass through certain streets in this town because of the pungent smell emanating from uncollected garbage. The county has totally failed on this issue and that’s why we want the garbage collection services privatised,” said Mr. Famau.
At the Milano market within Lamu Town, traders accused the Lamu Municipality of failing to collect garbage, a situation they said has been affecting businesses.
The traders also want the county government to speed up the building of a new market, saying the space they are currently using is small and congested and that many of their products were going stale as a result.
They said the market also lacks a proper drainage system, leading to the accumulation of sewage and all manner of dirt around and within.
“We can’t work in such conditions anymore. There is dirt everywhere. We have lost some customers because of the garbage. This is the perfect breeding place for cholera and typhoid unless something is done soon by the county government,” said Ms Wairimu Kimani.
Mr. Abdulswamad Basheikh Lamu cited the lack of enough dumping sites within Lamu Old Town as a key contributor to the ever-growing problem of solid-waste management and disposal.
“In the olden days, we used to have more than eight dumpsites in Lamu. Today, the population has grown, meaning garbage being generated from our houses every day has also increased. Unfortunately, most of the dumpsites have been closed and the land was taken by private developers. We only have one or two dumpsites,” said Mr. Basheikh.
He said the only solution now is to set up mobile collection points within the old town and also privatisation of garbage collection services.
Contacted, Lamu Municipality Manager Omar Famau denied there is a garbage disposal crisis in any of the towns.
Mr Famau said besides the tractors stationed in various towns in Lamu to collect garbage, the county has also employed cart pushers and cleaners to ensure hygiene is maintained in those towns.
Mr Famau, however, cited the challenge of enough dumping sites in the town.
“We cannot privatise garbage collection services since doing so will mean robbing people of their employment. Our plan is to increase the number of tractors operating in the various towns to ensure faster and smooth garbage collection,” said Mr. Famau.