The huge rubbish dump in Dandora in eastern Nairobi could close shortly, Misna news agency reports. The announcement was made by the environment minister following a visit to the largest refuse heap in the Kenyan capital, located in a slum area inhabited by hundreds of thousands of people. Dandora reached capacity in 2001 but since then rubbish has continued to pile up and be burned, releasing poisonous chemicals into the air.
Father Daniele Moschetti, a Comboni missionary who works in the local community, described the announcement as a historic turning point: The minister has already given the government offices three months to draw up a short-, medium- and long-term plan.
The proposals will have to include the creation of sustainable alternative income generating projects for the local residents who currently make their living from the site, for example by collecting and selling recyclable waste.
However, the immediate problem involves identifying a new site for rubbish disposal. Nairobi deputy mayor Ferdinand Waititu has said that there are currently no alternative locations available in the city.