What you need to know:
- The landfill is on the navigation route of the second largest airport in Kenya.
- The call comes as the airport is being expanded to accommodate larger planes.
Pressure is mounting on the Mombasa devolved government to close Mwakirunge dumpsite, which has been identified as a risk to planes taking off and landing at Moi International Airport.
The landfill is on the navigation route of the second largest airport in Kenya.
National Environment Management Authority (Nema) chairman John Konchellah said the dumpsite problem needs a multi-agency approach to solve.
“The matter involves Kenya Airports Authority but we will sit with all stakeholders to address it. We hope to have resolved the issue in three months,” Mr Konchellah said.
The Nema boss added that his team would work with the county government to find a lasting solution to the crisis.
Nema is the second government agency in a week to raise questions on the impact of the landfill on aviation.
A week ago, the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA) said it had written several times to the county government to shift Mwakirunge, the largest dumpsite in the coastal city.
The KCAA added that the increasing number of birds, as a result of the dumpsite, is interfering with flight operations.
“There are navigation equipment near the dumpsite. The gear is important for aircraft landing. It is the last point you fly over before touching down,” KCAA Director-General Gilbert Kibe said in a recent interview.
The call comes as the airport is being expanded to accommodate larger planes.
Mwakirunge landfill is about 20 kilometres from Mombasa. Another dumpsite is in Shonda, Likoni sub-county.
“Some of these birds can fly very high. There is always the danger of a bird strike,” Mr Kibe said.
Mombasa county has been grappling with garbage management for many years.
Governor Ali Hassan Joho’s administration wants to turn quarries into landfills following the closure of Kibarani, which has since been turned into a recreational park.
Kibarani was the largest and oldest dumpsite in Mombasa, but became an eyesore to tourists, locals and airport users.
County Environment, Waste Management and Climate Change Chief Officer Ilhan Abbas said authorities have not received a formal complaint from KCAA.
“There is nothing we cannot do together. We will address the matter collectively as soon as we get the letter, ” Ms Abbas said.
She added that the county government has taken heavy machines to the dumpsite to manage the waste.
Ms Abbas urged State agencies and other players to work with the county in addressing the many challenges posed by the dumpsite.
“It’s a problem that should be taken up by all that live, visit or work in Mombasa. There’s the challenge of road network too. We appeal to the Kenya National Highways Authority to repair the road and make it easier for trucks and other machines to reach the dumpsite in good time,” she said.
Ms Abbas said the county government would fence the area.