Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Mr. Francis Kihumba (2nd left) of UPOPS Project explains a point to other team members in the presence of the officer in charge of the dumpsite (3rd left)

The Ministry, through the Unintentionally Produced Organic Pollutants (UPOPS) project is partnering with Mombasa County Government to address waste management issues in the County.

The project is helping the County address open burning of waste as this process emits harmful toxins into the atmosphere that cause health complications like cancer, bronchitis, brain damage and heart problems among many others.

The UPOPS project is also implementing the 3Rs; Recycle, Reuse, and Reclaim and is developing strategies to deal with medical waste among other waste management challenges. It also works with two other counties namely Nakuru and Kisumu on the same.

This informed the visit by a team of officers from the Ministry headquarters to Mwakirunge dumpsite while in Mombasa County ahead of the World Clean up Day event. The dumpsite is the only gazetted dumpsite in Mombasa County and it is situated on a 60 acre piece of land 28km from the city centre.

The team came face to face with poverty stricken families who scavenge in the dumpsite to eke out a living. The visit also revealed that the dumpsite is located in the middle of a village and that portends danger in terms of health complications for the residents.

A woman with a child strappped on her back leaves the dumpsite with her colection ready for sale to the middlemen.

This writer interviewed one of the residents who said he has been scavenging for items to resell at the dumpsite for the last 18years and has no alternative place to move to.  Evans Katana, 61 says middlemen buy a kg of carton boxes for ksh.3.00 and a kg of plastic bottles for ksh. 2.00. He appealed to both the national and county governments to link them directly to the market to save them from exploitation by middlemen.

In the vicinity, women could also be seen with children strapped on their backs scavenging in the smoldering dumpsite oblivious of the dangers they are exposed to. They have to live and contend with the flies, chocking smell, noise from trucks and waste collectors who they claim are a security risk among other risks.

The man in charge of the dumpsite Martha Mwololo said that the dumpsite receives about 600 tonnes of waste in a month and called upon the authorities to establish a recycling plant to deal with the waste. There were concerns that the dumpsite is situated along the flight path and this is dangerous to the planes overflying the area.









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