08 February 2014, Nairobi – With a 27-billion shilling ($314 million) waste-to-energy project scheduled to launch February 24th, officials are optimistic that Nairobi has finally found a long-term solution to waste management.
The Nairobi County government signed a deal on September 28th with German companies Sustainable Energy Management UG and ISO International Development & Consulting GmbH, to build a solid waste recycling plant for turning millions of cubic tonnes of solid, organic and inorganic waste into electricity.
The new plant is expected to take two years to construct and will create 250 jobs directly and another 1,000 jobs for hauling, sorting and labelling garbage prior to its processing.
“Garbage management has been a headache to both policymakers and residents of this city for a long time,” Nairobi County Governor Evans Kidero told Sabahi. “With this project, our projections show we can generate 70 megawatts of electricity per hour from the waste the city produces.”
Kidero said the energy produced will be sold to Kenya Power Company to link to the national grid. It will help address the city’s frequent power blackouts and rationing that occur during peak hours or when electricity-generating dams are under maintenance.
Nairobi’s 3.2 million residents produce 2,000 tonnes of waste a day, but the city government only collects between 850 and 1,100 tonnes daily, according to the governor.
“The rest is dumped in illegal dumpsites or uncollected in the estates,” Kidero said. “This project will improve our collection capability because the more garbage we collect, the more energy this plant will generate.”
He said the county will increase its fleet of garbage trucks to collect waste in city estates and create main collection centres in Nairobi with the goal of collecting an additional 800 tonnes daily.
A cleaner, healthier Nairobi
Kidero said the project is the only one of its kind in the country. “It will mark a realisation of our long dream of a cleaner city which has been a challenge because of lack of waste management technical expertise,” he said.
“Bio-waste accounts for 60% of the solid waste in the city. Most slaughterhouses are unable to properly dispose of their waste to the required hygiene or safety standard, but I am sure [they] will be relieved and ready to send their waste to this project,” he said.