Kenya: Joho Moves to Tackle Mombasa's Unending Garbage Problem

Governor Hassan Joho has shut down all the illegal dumpsites in Mombasa in a move aimed at dealing with waste that is choking the tourism hub.

Collection points have been identified where garbage trucks will be picking the waste to be dumped at Mwakirunge, the largest dumpsite in the city.

The County chief officer in charge of Environment, Waste Management and Energy, Ms Ilhan Abass, said the city boss has shut down all the illegal dumpsites and started the process of planting trees in the areas.

"We had cleared VOK illegal dumpsite around three months ago and planted trees but residents still dump their waste here. Those engaged in illegal dumping should be aware that the fine is Sh500,000 and this time we will bite," warned Ms Abass.

Illegal dumping of garbage is choking the tourism city. However, to deal with the menace, the Governor Joho-led administration imposed a Sh500,000 to Sh1,000,000 fine depending on the quantity of the waste dumped.

The county wants to rid the tourism city of careless garbage dumping and littering through stringent, radical measures and strategies.

Deal with the challenges

"We are grappling with garbage menace brought about by the residents but we will deal with the challenges through the laws. We are also sensitising the residents on how to ensure cleanliness," said Ms Abass, who spoke to Nation.

She said the county has come up with strategies to ensure the Department of Environment, Waste Management clears all the garbage in the city.

"We have enough fleet which will be used to collect the garbage in collection points to be thrown at Mwakirunge. We want to discourage dumping and littering of the city. Garbage should be dumped in designated areas," insisted Ms Abass.

Changamwe MCA Bernard Ogutu and his nominated counterpart Leila Mwinyi lauded the county for introducing monthly cleanup to ensure the cleanliness of the port city.

The monthly exercise will be held every last Saturday of the month.

The department of environment is currently registering waste collectors.

Sub County and Ward Administrators, were instructed to ensure their jurisdictions identify waste collection or transfer points where the garbage will be regularly collected by garbage trucks.

Waste collectors, who shall be registered or licensed, will then be dressed uniquely in uniforms as per the wards they operate in as well as have county badges and stickers displayed on their carts or vehicles identifying them to residents, landlords businessmen and other waste generators.

"Those found to be still using unregistered waste collectors for their garbage collection after this activity will face full consequences as they will be tracked and together with their collectors, arrested and held responsible for the garbage found dumped carelessly in their neighbourhoods.

Garbage dumped

This will also result in a fine of Sh500,000 to Sh1,000,000 depending on the quantity of the garbage dumped," warned Ms Abass during a forum with community leaders and environment stakeholders drawn from across the six sub counties at the newly refurbished Railway Park.

Ms Abass said no waste collector will be allowed to dispose or transfer waste to other wards or neighbouring sub counties.

"All residents are being urged to cooperate with these plans," added Ms Abass.

Last year, Governor Joho mulled privatising garbage collection in the city that was choking from garbage menace.

Although the county managed to shut down two of its largest dumpsites in Kibarani and VOK and rehabilitated the areas by planting trees, the issue of dumping has remained a big challenge.

In 2019, President Uhuru Kenyatta inspected the progress of the regeneration of the park at Kibarani, expressing his satisfaction and urging the county boss to improve other public spaces in the city.

Mr Kenyatta had also issued a presidential directive to ensure that the garbage crisis in the tourism hub is resolved in efforts to restore the city's lost glory as a leading tourists attraction in the region.

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