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Garbage pit is my goldmine says man who deals in paper

At a roadside plot in Mathare Phase 4 lies a heap of waste including boxes, plastics, polythene and textile products of all kinds.

A man rummages through the heap as he issues sharp commands to two women and a man standing by.

Make no mistake, this is the middle-aged boss’ goldmine and the waste on the piece of land he rents has been his fortune.

‘’When you see me working through this heap its not by choice, rather life has pushed us to do it.’’ says Joash Mwavaliaka.

Fondly called Kamaliza by residents of the area, Mwavaliaka has managed to make a living for his family from the waste. ‘‘This work keeps an idle man from going astray,’’ he adds.

Mwavaliaka and his workers search for cartons and other valuable paper before arranging them on the other side of the plot.

They then deliver the waste to a company called Kamongo. The firm in turn packages the paper and then sells it to Chandaria paper industries in Baba Ndogo.

From there they are processed and sent to Webuye paper mills, while others are exported to India. The cycle is complete when the boxes find their way back to the market and to the pit.

Apart from the boxes, he also deals with textiles which he sells to carpenters (who use them to make sofas), polythene, plastic bags and he said he was working to buy a plastic crusher to ease storage problem.

The man has employed about 26 men and women.