News / Africa

Cleaning Up Nairobi's 'Takataka' Cheaply and Effectively

Dealing with Kenya's Wastei
X
April 12, 2013 7:42 PM
Just one-third of Nairobi’s trash makes it to the single municipal dumpsite at Dandora. The rest -- the solid waste of nearly 2.5 million residents, remains unaccounted for. One social enterprise has developed an innovative waste-management model -- to encourage the recycling and composting of Nairobi’s trash. Roopa Gogineni has more.]]
Roopa Gogineni
Just one-third of Nairobi’s trash makes it to the single municipal dumpsite at Dandora.  The rest - solid waste of nearly 2.5 million residents - remains unaccounted for.  One social enterprise has developed an innovative waste-management model to encourage the recycling and composting of Nairobi’s trash.

In the Kangemi suburb of Nairobi, residents carefully avoid the piles of trash that have become permanent features of the city’s landscape. One social enterprise, Takataka Solutions, aims to change the terrain. 

Takataka, which means trash in Kiswahili, offers affordable waste collection services to Kangemi residents. Daniel Paffenholz founded the company in 2011.

"Legally speaking, in Nairobi the city council is supposed to provide waste management services for all residents.  That is about 3.5 million people.  Effectively the city has 8 trucks," he explained.

The limited capacity of the city to collect trash means that many private companies have filled in the gap.  But few of these serve lower income neighborhoods such as Kangemi.  Two thirds of the area’s 2,000 tons of waste remains uncollected.

"You can dump it in a river, you can burn it, you can bury it in the ground. You can pay someone to take it the next illegal dumpsite which is 100 meters away," Paffenholz said.

The environmental consequences of these practices are substantial.  Unregulated dumpsites contaminate ground water and burning trash produces harmful emissions.  Rivers clogged with waste become breeding grounds for malaria.

"We didn't have any place where you can throw the takataka, we just dispose them anywhere, anyhow, even on the roads," said Alex Cera, a Kangemi resident.

Cera now pays nearly $1 a month to have Takataka Solutions collect his trash.

At that price, Paffenholz estimates 90- 95 percent of households in Nairobi could afford waste collection.  

The challenge is convincing residents that it’s worth the money.

"They were used to not paying, they were using other ways to dump their waste.  Convincing them that it is important for you and the environment as a whole, sometimes it’s hard," stated Elizabeth Aluoch, Takataka salesperson.

The company asks its 6,000 clients to separate trash into three separate bins for organic, recyclable, and residual waste.  Paffenholz says this is difficult behavior to change, but fundamental to keeping costs down.

Eighty percent of collected waste is recycled or composted, minimizing the load sent to the municipal dump at Dandora.  Collection trucks charge between $100 and $200 for each trip.

The organic waste is handled at Takataka’s composting facility in Kangemi.

"We are processing 3-4 tons of organic waste a day.  There are no smells and no emissions," Paffenholz noted. "We are just 10 meters next to residential houses and there have been no problems whatsoever."

Takataka is now testing the resulting batches of fertilizer in farms upcountry.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Bosnian Massacre Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs UN countermeasure More

America's Most Exotic Presidential Pets

From alligators to bears, the White House has been home to some unusual presidential pets over the years More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugeesi
X
Carolyn Weaver
July 06, 2015 6:47 PM
In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.

VOA Blogs