Sorting garbage for recycling is a project that was adopted by the Kigali City Council (KCC) to manage waste better. The practice does not only protect the environment but also helps owners to recover lost valuables.
Six months ago, the Nyanza dumping site which is managed by Kigali City Council started sorting biodegradable from non-biodegradable waste. This practice made recycling waste easier. Additionally, homesteads are encouraged to do the same to ease the work of garbage collectors.
Recycling is the processing of used materials (waste) into new products in order to prevent environmental pollution.
The practice of sorting rubbish was a result of public complaints about the unhygienic Nyanza dumping site in Kicukiro District, especially during the rainy season.
According to Bruno Rangira, Public Relations Officer of KCC, the recycling of waste products is still gradual.
“There are a few companies that are taking on the task of recycling waste. We encourage the Private Sector to promote recycling. If sorting wastes is done at home, this would quicken the work of the recyclers,” Rangira said.
About 80 percent of the waste at the site is recycled into manure and charcoal. The site receives waste from all corners of Kigali City and at least 40 trucks of rubbish are disposed off daily. The trucks belong to different cleaning cooperatives.
Some of the companies that recycle the products include COOPED, that recycles plastic and paper while COCEN recycles organic waste.
“Waste products that are not recycled are compressed then buried at the land fill,” says Rangira.
Recycling creates jobs in the waste management and disposal industries. It also saves energy and water and produces less air and water pollution during manufacturing of new products.
At the Nyanza land fill, garbage is weighed and sorted; for every kilogram collected, a worker is paid Rwf20.
As a result of the recycling project, workers at the site are keen on identifying different valuable items or documents that can later be claimed at their offices. For example, several lost national identity cards are at the offices.
Amri Ntakirutimana, a garbage collector at the Nyanza site said they usually find national identity cards and other valuables while sorting rubbish. He explains an instance where a lost wallet was returned to the owner.
“I have worked here for the last nine years but it was the first time I found a purse in the garbage besides the usual (Identity Card) ID. It still looked neat. When I opened it, I saw two ATM cards, a national ID, photos, business cards and Rwf10, 000.
“I took the purse to our security personnel who I asked if the business card could help us contact the owner of the purse. We immediately called and told her to come pick her wallet at our offices and told her everything that was inside,” Ntakirutimana narrates.
Ntakirutimana specializes in collecting plastic at the site.
According to Adrien Turatsinze, the security personnel of the area, they have trained the workers at the garbage site to always maintain integrity.
“We all work under the Giribuzima Munyarwanda Cooperative although we are paid by Kigali City Council (KCC). In this cooperative, we get moral trainings on how to respect one another’s property; I’m impressed that Amri Ntakirutimana acted exemplarily,” Turatsinze said.
Among the many things that have been kept at the Nyanza garbage site are National Identity cards which are later taken to the police so that the owners can claim for them.