Mombasa MCAs pass proposed law to tackle garbage crisis

Garbage piled up in front of businesses outside the Kongowea market in Mombasa. FILE PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT | NMG
Garbage piled up in front of businesses outside the Kongowea market in Mombasa. FILE PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT | NMG  

The Mombasa County Assembly has passed a Bill geared towards handling waste management as the resort city grapples with a refuse collection crisis.

Governor Hassan Joho is expected to assent to the proposed legislation as he seeks a long overdue solution to dealing with a tourist hub that is choking under heaps of rotting garbage.

The passing of the Bill came on the heels of an outcry from hoteliers, the business community and residents in the devolved unit over the menace.

Over time, uncollected garbage has piled on road reserves, residential and public areas in Mombasa.

On Wednesday, Environment Executive Tendai Lewa termed the passing of the Waste Management Bill by the county government as a milestone, adding that it would help address the challenges of solid waste management in the region.

“When the Bill is assented to by the governor, it will assist us tackle the thorny issue of reckless throwing of garbage in the streets by irresponsible community waste collectors and residents,” he said.
Mr Lewa added that the new law would also enable the county firmly deal with polluters of the environment within the city.

“We shall punish the polluters and even the owners of the idle land which is being used for dumping rotting garbage in the county,” he warned.

Eyesore to residents, visitors

Last month, there was outcry from the Kenya Association of Hotelkeepers and Caterers (KAHC) citing piles of uncollected garbage as an eyesore to locals and international tourists.

“In every corner of the town you travel, you are hit by sickening smell of rotting garbage or sewage emptied into storm-water drainage system,” KAHC coast branch executive officer Sam Ikwaye said.

He added that tourists travelling by road from Moi International Airport had to endure an intolerable stench emanating from the Kibarani dump site.

“For Mombasa to attract more holidaymakers, the city must be kept clean. The high season is just the corner and it is our wish that the county chiefs address the solid waste challenge,” he said.

Collective effort

However, Mr Lewa noted that the cleanliness of the city required collective responsibility from the residents, community garbage collectors, private collectors and businesses owners.

“To help us keep the town clean, residents must put garbage on the designated stations where the trucks can collect before transporting the waste to Kibarani dumpsite,” he said.

He noted that the County had come up with a garbage collection timetable and designated picking areas as part of efforts to rid the city of filth.

According to the Bill, the county is expected to implement measures to reduce the amount of waste generated and to ensure what is collected will be recycled or treated before safely being disposed of.