Waste Generation and Disposal

Wastes are substances that have no further economic use. This means that in carrying out of everyday activities we all have left with us that we no longer need or is of no more use to us. The issue of waste is relevant to everyone as some level of waste is generated by all in their day to day activities.

Of this about 40% of the waste generated is organic in nature i.e. is biodegradable and comes from a plant or animal source. Organic waste is usually broken down by other organisms over time and is also referred to as wet waste. Organic matter, if dumped in a landfill releases methane, a potent greenhouse gas with adverse effect on the environment and contributes to landfill leachate that can pollute underground water and even rivers.

Organic waste provides a good input into the environment if managed properly. I the rural areas, organic waste generated in households is fed to livestock and manure ploughed back into the farms to sustain crops. In urban areas, the situation is dire as organic waste is often lumped together with inorganic matter and dumped above ground with disastrous consequences. Throwing away organic waste represents a wasted resource that fills limited landfill space.

Out of Site – Out of Mind

The old adage that once something is out of sight it is out of mind rings true in many of our waste management practices today. Whereas many institutions would not allow for garbage to be dumped in a heap in their premises, they unwittingly facilitate this happening away from their grounds.

Every time the garbage disposal companies collect garbage, their destination is the Dandora dumpsite where tons upon tons of waste are dumped with no further waste processing being carried out. The tragedy of this dumpsite, so close to thousands of people’s homes, is well documented and has been the subject of many a discussion with no positive movement to speak of.

Kenya’s Environment Agenda

There is a great need to take good care of the environment as this is of essence to the survival of human beings. In Kenya, the constitution acknowledges the need for careful consideration of the environment by a provision in its preamble stating that “WE the people of Kenya are RESPRECTFUL of our environment which is our heritage and determined to sustain it for future generations.”
Continuing to dump waste in the manner in which we are doing now is something which is ecologically unstable and hence must be dealt with

Waste Management Value Chain Development

Kenya’s Vision 2030 recognises waste management as one of the sectors under the Social Pillar that is necessary to move Kenya into a middle income country by the year 2030. This will be through improving the quality of life for all Kenyans.

In order for the Vision to be accomplished, efforts aimed at creation of jobs must be sustained. Waste management represents an unutilized resource that can support industry as well as avail raw materials new products. A key impediment to the reuse and recycling industries is the poor management of waste at source thereby contaminating what would otherwise be input for another industry. Plenty of resources are dumped in the dumpsites where they rot away and create a nuisance yet could be of significant economic value. This is a double tragedy as not only does the waste accrue costs to eliminate the nuisance but also industries that need it are starved of raw materials. The negative effect to the economy is thus multiplied.

Benefits of a waste management system at institutional level

A waste management system is proposed, which will involve the separation of waste into various categories and utilization of the same. Organic waste can be used to produce biogas for use in the kitchen. This will reduce the demand for firewood which is commonly used thereby helping to preserve trees

Inorganic waste can be separated into recyclable waste and non-recyclable waste. The former can be turned over to industries that require the waste as raw material while the latter shall be turned over to waste disposal companies

The establishment of such a system will have the following benefits:

  • Financial savings from the use of organic waste for cooking/heating
  • Reduction of waste being turned over to the disposal companies hence savings from reduced load
  • Availability of organic fertiliser from the organic waste which can be used to grow food crops/irrigate trees
  • Institutions with a large organic waste can process and convert the same to a useful resource. These include schools, colleges etc
  • The institutions will have made its mark on the preservation of the environment and support of SMEs involved in recycled products.
  • This will meet the obligations of the institutions under performance contracting on environment

Next steps

In the actualization of the above proposed project, the following steps need to be taken:

  • Installation of the Energy Bin to cater for organic waste. This will include piping of the gas into the kitchen
  • Training and awareness creation on the different categories of waste and how to sort them
  • Establishment of color coded waste collection bins for the various types of waste
  • Identification of industries that need the recyclable waste
  • Rollout of the project

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