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Garbage crisis looms in city in wake of Dandora dumpsite closure

Efforts to make Nairobi clean have suffered another major blow following the closure of the Dandora dumpsite.

The move comes hardly a day after the county government kicked out hawkers from the central business district  (CBD) in efforts to “bring sanity and order” in the city.

The dumpsite serves the county and private garbage firms that collect and dispose of waste at the site.

DOWNED TOOLS

On Wednesday, City Hall contractors working at the Dandora dumpsite downed their tools over four-month arrears the county owes them.

“We have 11 machines that work at the dumpsite which are both dossiers and excavators that push the garbage to create space. Operators of the machines are the ones who are on strike,” said county environment assistant director in charge of waste disposal Lawrence Mwangi on phone.

He said the garbage trucks were forced to park outside the dumpsite to prevent disposal of waste on its access roads.

Mr Mwangi said the county-owned excavators broke down and are yet to be repaired, forcing the county to hire the contractors at Sh13,000 per hour.

He said the county had spent a lot of money to open up the dumpsite and since those supervising it were on strike and City Hall could not risk the trucks offloading the garbage at undesignated sites.

The closure of the dumpsite will also affect more than 1,500 households that earn their living by working at the site.

He said that truck owners have also threatened to join the protest after the county failed to pay Sh40 million debt it owes them.

ILLEGAL DUMPING

The City Hall official also blamed community based organisations (CBOs) that collect garbage in the city estates for illegal dumping.

“The county must come up with measures to ensure the CBOs account for where they dispose of the garbage collected in the estates,” he said.

Last week, the environment chief officer Christine Ogut blamed bureaucracy at the finance department for the non-payment of contractors.

She said the  contractors are impatient over delayed payments are holding the county to a ransom given the essential services they provide.