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New mobile app to help wipe out illegal dumpsites

Lets Do It Kenya team at a meeting in Nairobi. PHOTO | COURTESY
Lets Do It Kenya team at a meeting in Nairobi. PHOTO | COURTESY 

A non-profit environmental group, Let’s Do It Kenya, is promoting a mobile application that can help map illegal garbage points and dumpsites across the country.

The application, designed by Let’s Do It World in Estonia, enables users to see various dumpsites. All the data collected by users are visualised on the global garbage map.

The Kenyan chapter of the global initiative has been working to raise awareness and recruit volunteers in readiness for the World Clean-up Day on September 15, 2018. 

The World Clean-up app is available to all smartphone users with Android and iOS operating systems.

Once a user has downloaded it from Apple Store or Google Play Store, they have to register with either Facebook or Google accounts to be able to see mapped points and post their photos as well.

Mapping the dumpsites involves taking pictures, pinning them on a map, and describing the nature of the garbage by categorising them as threat, regular, cleaned or outdated.

“Labelling the garbage spotted is useful as it helps volunteers and cleaning staff prepare the right tools needed for that particular work,” says Christine Sayo, head of Let’s Do It Kenya.

Once the pictures have been uploaded on the global visual map, any user using the application can see and could initiate an action.

Ms Sayo says the application was developed as part of the efforts to create an effective management system and realise the dream of a waste-free environment.

The group is also in the process of developing an offline version which will allow users to map garbage in areas with little or no internet connectivity.

A screenshot of mapped illegal dumpsite on World Clean-up Day mobile application in Nairobi County. PHOTO | ADONIJAH OCHIENG | NMG

A screenshot of mapped illegal dumpsite on World Clean-up Day mobile application in Nairobi County. PHOTO | ADONIJAH OCHIENG | NMG

The application has been tested and the group is now looking for volunteers and partners who will work to create an effective solid waste management system.

“We did a testing for the app in June 2016. During the testing, we worked with over 50 volunteers and managed to map 237 garbage points in Nairobi and Mombasa. This testing allowed us to fix bugs in the app and now we are ready to roll it out,” says Christine Sayo.

The app currently has over 1,000 downloads, mostly by volunteers recruited by the initiative.

The group is targeting county governments to build the capacity to run the waste management system successfully.

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