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The Dandora dumpsite handles all the wastes generated by Nairobi City, East Africas’ largest and most populous City. It is located 8 KMs from the citys’ central business district. The dumpsite measures 26.2 Hectares and has been in operation for over thirty years. The dumpsite receives over 1500 tonnes of waste on a daily basis of which forms a less than half of Nairobis’ total generated waste.
Started in the 1970S’ by Nairobi City council, the site was initially a quarry. It was therefore established with the intention of filling up and eventually rehabilitating the quarry. However the dumpsite has been in operation for a period that far exceeds the ten to fifteen year limit set by international laws for the use of a dumpsite. It has thus ended up becoming a humanitarian nightmare especially for the surrounding communities, although it is considered by a blessing by those who depend on it for a living.
The dumpsite is surrounded by various residential estates including: Dandora, Baba Ndogo, Kariobangi and Korogocho of which is Nairobi Citys’ fourth largest slum. These estates harbor a population of over a million people and this is growing fast fuelled by among other factors the high urban immigration common in Africa.
Dumping at the site goes on due to lack of an alternative site and the interest of the dumpsite beneficiaries who are totally against its relocation. Attempts to move it has been strongly opposed by those benefiting from it. Attempts to move it to Ruai on the outskirts of Nairobi was strongly opposed by the community around the area who felt this was an attempt to dump the problem on them. Various solutions have been suggested including establishment of a semi aerobic land fill currently being piloted and establishment of thermal electricity generation plant among others.
The Dandora dumpsite continues to pose great threats to humanity. This is due to the fact that that the dumpsite has outlived its lifespan and overpassed its capacity. The activities in the dumpsite are not effective or efficient in dealing with the high amount of waste generated by in its source area. Attempts to address the situation continue to hit dead ends despite the many existing opportunities and developed plans.
Despite the many challenges that abound an alternative site needs to be urgently identified and modern recycling methods put into use. The plight of the separators operating at the dumpsite also needs to be addressed to ensure that solutions adopted don’t marginalize them and negate their great dependency on this malpractice. The participation of the people in the process of better waste management is also imperative