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

Nigeria Incumbent in Tight Spot as Poll Nears

Muhammadu Buhari is running a strong challenge to Goodluck Jonathan, amid a faltering economy and Boko Haram security worries More

Video Liberia's Almost-Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo tells VOA that despite her fame, life is still a struggle as she waits for government's promise of support to arrive More

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

At least seven different indigenous groups in Ratanakiri depend mainly on forest products for their survival, say they face loss of their land, traditional way of life 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.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More