Kenya: Meru Among Finalists in Global Competition

Meru County government has entered the final round in a global competition for a Sh100 million award to carry out a project on waste management and climate change mitigation.

The Global Mayor's Challenge is organised by US based Bloomberg Philanthropies, which attracts a $1 million (Sh100 million) award to actualise the projects presented in the proposals.

Founded by Michael Bloomberg, it focuses on philanthropic activities encompassing environment, public health, arts, government, innovation and education.

The first round saw the county named among 50 entrants in a competition that attracted 631 towns across the world. The 50 have already received $150,000 (Sh15 million) to help them fine-tune their proposals.

Meru is listed alongside London (the UK) Long Beach (US), Louisville (US), Lusaka (Zambia) and Manila (Philippines) among other world capitals.

Received Sh15 million

While making the announcement last Friday on behalf of Governor Kiraitu Murungi, his deputy Titus Ntuchiu said the county government had received Sh15 million, which will be spent on polishing the proposal.

"It is a great honour for us to be among these world cities and we hope that we will win this Sh100 million so that we can transform our urban centres," Mr Ntuchiu said.

"We're doing our final proposal and will submit it by October in readiness for the announcement in December. This project fits in well with our Vision 2040 blueprint in which we have spelt out our environmental management plan. We're confident we will win," he added.

Of the 631 towns that had sent their applications from 99 countries, 65 are capital cities.

Mr Ntuchiu said their project was picked because of its unique concept of managing waste using the black soldier fly (BSF).

The county presented a proposal on climate and environment aimed at transforming the town into a climate smart urban centre by 2040 by using the BSF to recycle solid waste

The project aims at covering a radius of 15 kilometres from Meru town, with five biodigesters installed in designated urban centres.

More waste

The black soldier fly will be used in the bio digesters to turn 130 tonnes of organic waste generated daily into organic fertiliser and protein for manufacturing fish and poultry feed.

Environment Executive Karwitha Kiugu said the aim of the project is to transform Meru into a climate smart urban centre.

"The project will also involve management of garbage where it's generated instead of transporting it to other sites," Prof Kiugu said.

He added that with the challenge of Covid-19 pandemic, more waste is being generated since people are using masks.

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