By: Mikwa Emily
Solid Waste management has been a major challenge in Kenya, with Kisumu city not exempted, as it generates up to 400 tons of solid waste daily.
The solid waste is mainly disposed by open dumping and burning that poses environmental threat and health hazard from the emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere which trap heat and make the climate warm.
Kisumu County in partnership with Covenant of Mayors in Sub-Saharan Africa (CoMSSa) through the Sustainable Energy Access and Climate Action Plan (SEACAP) pilot project are currently working with the Ten Top Youth group in Ondiek Estate, targeting to promote best practices on Segregation of waste at household level into dry/recyclables, wet/biodegradable and domestic hazardous waste for ease in re- use, recycling and composting.
The six months pilot project focuses on reducing the amount of solid waste channeled to Kachok dumpsite, while promoting behavior change by encouraging segregation at the household level and also empowering youths to improve their livelihoods.
If successful, the initiative is expected to be replicated in all the estates in Kisumu that also collect and dump solid waste at the Kachok dumpsite,
The move is expected to reduce emissions from solid waste disposal, with more waste being recycled and composted hence contributes to protecting climate and the environment.
The County Director for Climate Change Mr. Evans Gichana lauded the initiative supported by the France Expertise saying the project objective is in tandem with the constitutional requirements and policies of both the County and National Governments.
On aspects of employment, he said each department should provide initiatives that provide employment for the people which the project does. According to the county waste management policy which has been tabled at the cabinet, emphasizes on the need to separate waste at source to ease re- use, recycling and composting hence reducing landfills and emission of green house gases to the atmosphere.
On the constitutional mandate, he said emphasis is laid on the right for people to live in a clean and healthy environment, therefore the initiative needs to be rolled out in all estates to achieve the constitutional objective. His clarion call is to the like mined partners who can support the same objective.
Ondiek Estate has been earmarked as the pilot area for the waste management programme because it is a low-income estate with a population of 1,500 people, within the urban set up yet has a serious challenge in waste disposal which is mainly through open burning at 33.6% and dumping at 38.6% of the generated solid waste.
According to the Kisumu Integrated Solid Waste Management Plan (KISWaMP 2018) baseline survey revealed that the waste generated in Ondiek Estate in a day comprises organic waste 235 tons, waste papers 46 tons, plastics 38 tons, glass 12 tons, scrap 5tons among others at 37 tons. This totals to 373 tons of solid waste generated in a day.
The project has facilitated the training of 30 waste management champions from Ondiek Estate on the best practices on waste disposal through segregation, re use, recycling and composting. Those trained include men and women representatives of groups that collect waste from the estate and household representatives residing within the estate.
On Friday 7th, 200 bins and 400 gunny bags were distributed to the households to incentivize waste segregation. The waste will then be collected once every week, specifically on Saturdays marked with a clean up exercise of the estate.
Mr. Caleb Owiti, one of the beneficiaries from Ondiek Estate attested that the initiative of supplying them with bins and gunny bags is a step to the right direction on matters waste management.
“Initially, I didn’t have a bin where to put waste, my compound was littered all over but now that I have the bin and the two gunny bags, I am able to sort the waste and my compound is clean,” says Mr. Owiti
Madam Kay Akello, a resident of Ondiek Estate and a beneficiary of the training on waste segregation at the household level is optimistic that the initiative will give Ondiek Estate a face lift.
“I was trained on how to sort waste at the household level and it is a practice anyone can learn by doing from the charts we received. I have tenants in my compound whom I will also train on waste segregation. If those who were trained inculcate the same in their compounds and in the neighborhood, then Ondiek Estate will never be the same” says Madam Akello.
On his part, The Chairman of the Ten Top Youth group Mr. Fred Misachi, reiterated the importance of the project as a source of economic empowerment to the youths in terms of recyclable items and the organic waste which will be used to make organic manure for farming.
“We used to collect waste and dump them at Kachok dumpsite or in our backyards but now through this project, we will do waste segregation at the household level. We have been supported with a bin and two gunny bags each to incentivize waste segregation. We are now working on a holding ground where we will sell the recyclables to dealers, and from the proceeds, we will plough some back to sustain the project while some will be re- invested in our welfare activities to generate more income. In future, we plan do recycling on our own and not sell to dealers” says Mr. Fred
The plastic waste will be sold to dealers at the waste recovery in Maendeleo market for recycling while the biodegradable/ organic will be sold to dealers at Obunga for composting hence reducing waste landfill.
A weighing machine was also given to the waste collectors to help monitor the amount of waste generated in the pilot area.