City of Kigali moves to produce energy from garbage recycling

Waste material at Nduba Dump Site in Gasabo District could soon be turned into energy to be added to the national grid.
Workers at Nduba Dump Site in Gasabo District sort garbage. (Timothy Kisambira)
Workers at Nduba Dump Site in Gasabo District sort garbage. (Timothy Kisambira)

Waste material at Nduba Dump Site in Gasabo District could soon be turned into energy to be added to the national grid.

Reuben Ahimbisibwe, the director-general of infrastructure at the City of Kigali, said some investors have already shown interest in recycling all non-solid waste matter at the dump site to produce energy.

“Investors submitted their proposals last week and we have started screening and analysing them to get the best,” Ahimbisibwe said, adding that the potential investors have also showed the City the technology they would use for the recycling.

The quantity of power, he said, will depend on the quantity of the waste as well as the type of technologies to be used.

“For example, some have pledged to produce 7 megawatts or more. We will discuss about funding; whether the City can inject in funds or the investor will do it on their own and sell the electricity to the government,” he added.

When The New Times visited Nduba Dump Site, casual labourers were sorting waste matter. Among them was Samuel Bizimana, 69, who was hoarding sacks, lids and bottles that he sells for between Rwf20 and Rwf30 per kilogramme.

“I came here after I had no more strength to work. I have no resources but the dump sustains me,” he said.

Officials say the welfare of the scavenging workers could also be improved by working at the plant.

Dr Rose Mukankomeje, the director-general of Rwanda Environmental Management Authority (REMA), said the City is making tremendous progress in protecting the environment to curb air pollution.

She said turning waste into energy could contribute much toward reducing pollution.

“The dump site is like sitting on an active volcano, that is why transforming waste into energy is a sustainable solution,” she said.

Mukankomeje added that there was need to identify serious investors since previous ones failed to implement their commitments such as turning the waste into fertilisers.

Residents around the dump site have been relocated since it was expanding and complaints of health risks were rife.

However, the dump site has also attracted many street children.

Nduba Dump Site is one of many that underwent testing to assess whether they contained persistent organic pollutants and chemicals that could contaminate water and soil, according to Eliezer Ndizeye, the focal point of the chemicals management at REMA.

The envisaged waste recycling plant would supply clean energy which is an alternative to fossil fuels.

The City of Kigali has also embarked on a centralised sewerage system at Giti Cy’inyoni in Nyarugenge District to set up the plant to recycle waste and used water.

At least 300 tonnes of waste is collected by the City of Kigali per day.

editorial@newtimes.co.rw

 

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