Nyanza residents’ garbage relief
Residents of Nyanza Sector in Kigali city now have some respite following the city authorities’ move to relocate a dumpsite from the area.
The Prime Minister, Dr Pierre Damien Habumuremyi, ordered the closure of Nyanza dumpsite in Kicukiro District when he visited the area in December last year.
Over the years, unbearable odour stemming from the landfill had grown exponentially making the surrounding communities fear possible health hazards it posed.
Local residents had for long petitioned the government to relocate it but to no avail.
Speaking to The New Times, yesterday, some of the residents near the former site were relieved following the relocation exercise.
“I am happy with Kigali city authorities for coming to our rescue. We can now breathe fresh air,” a vividly elated, Jean Damascene Ndindiriyimana comments.
He said that although the disgusting odour was yet to be fully wiped out, their community was at last free from air pollution.
Yusuf Birikunzira, another resident, said he initially had no qualms about the landfill despite the popular agitation for its removal.
“We were used to the situation, but of late, I have come to realise that the site was dangerous to the surrounding communities. I am happy that the clean up is being undertaken,” he said.
According to a study by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, babies born to mothers who live near landfill sites have a greater risk of birth defects.
The studies have shown possible increased risks of certain types of cancers, including bladder, brain and leukaemia, among people who live near landfills.
The Mayor of Kicukiro District, Jules Ndamage, has already announced plans to turn the former dumpsite into a public park in line with the city’s master plan.
According to City officials, the Nyanza dumpsite that was inherited from the previous regime was put up without any prior planning.
They said plans are underway to build a permanent landfill in Nyarugenge District that is due for completion within two to three years.
The temporary landfill in Muremure Cell, Nduba Sector, is estimated to cost Rwf 1.3 billion.
The officials say the new dumpsite would not cause any threat to nearby residents and poses no environmental danger as it is away from water sources.
The relocation exercise has had its consequences though. Jean Paul Ngenzi, the proprietor of Agruni, a garbage collection firm, says the relocation exercise had compelled his company to hike the garbage collection fee.
“Because of the distance and the fuel we use in our trucks, we decided to increase the monthly bill for collecting and disposing of garbage. For example, residents of Kimihurura Sector now pay Rwf 3,000 monthly,” he said, up from Rwf1,000.
Ngenzi states that they sort out the collected garbage that is then dumped separately due to diverse decomposition levels, for instance, electronic waste (e-waste) that takes long to decompose. E-waste includes discarded computers, electronic office equipment, electronic entertainment equipment, mobile phones and other home appliances like television sets and refrigerators, among others.
However, government is in the process of developing a policy to address e-waste management.
The policy seeks to map out sustainable solutions on how to safely manage and dispose of e-waste products through recycling and tracking of all imported computers as well as setting up of a disposal facility.
Contact email: frank.kanyesigye[at]newtimes.co.rw