Interview: The State of Urban Planning in Nairobi Creating vibrant urban communities in large cities: Kilimani Project Foundation Placemaking Week: Can Nairobi create “Places’ out of ‘Spaces’? Nairobi City: Moving Backwards in Mobility and Access? NTV Kenya Documentary on Nairobi Transport Upper Hill, Nairobi: Growing as Africa’s Financial Capital! African Cities, Please Change the Narrative on Non Motorized Transit! Likoni Cable Express Line: Transforming Coastal Mobility The Nairobi Pedestrian: An Unwanted Species Blog Awards: Vote for #MjiWetu: Mixed Land Use is not Random Land Use #MjiWetu: Do Walls improve the Security of our City? Nairobi: Mixed Use Zones are Redefining the City Is Nairobi Central Business District DEAD? Nairobi, Kenya, faces a Growing Challenge of Noise Pollution Kenya: Teaching Public Service Drivers First Aid and Safety Any Future for Nairobi’s Dandora Dump Site? Nairobi, Kenya: No BRT due to Poor Planning? Nairobi and the 100 Resilient Cities Programme Nairobi’s Long Rains: A failure in Urban Resilience? Intern at The Global Grid Participation: Using Social Media in the Urban Planning process Nairobi Public Spaces: Viable or open for Grabbing? Kenyan Blog Awards: Blog Needs your Vote! Nairobi: How can buses help decongest? Public vs Private Urban Housing, what direction for Nairobi, Kenya? Aerial Cable Transit: Urban Gondolas for African Cities? How Sustainable are the emerging Private Cities around Nairobi, Kenya? Urban October: Public Spaces for All Nairobi’s Tom Mboya Street: User Friendly or Not? Countering the Increasing Energy Consumption in Growing Cities Kenya: Two Railway Lines Running Parallel on Different Gauges Mi Teleférico: Worlds Highest Cable Car Transports over 42,000 people daily Cable Cars: Introducing the Likoni ‘Air-Line’ in Mombasa, Kenya Planners: Does Security in Urban Centres begin with you? Moving Urban Dwellers through the Air to alleviate Traffic Congestion When the call to drive at 30 kph in Nairobi, Kenya is necessary! Land use management in Nairobi, Kenya is key to reducing congestion. Nairobi, Kenya: Neglect of NMT makes it less safe, less convenient and less attractive. Nairobi, Kenya aims at Regularizing Unauthorized Structures How can Nairobi, Kenya deal with its ‘Buildings of Death’ ? Harmonizing Initiatives: Nairobi, Kenya works towards developing an NMT Policy


Bio: Constant Cap has a Master’s degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of Nairobi, Kenya. He holds an undergraduate degree from the same university. He writes about urban planning issues online and in local dailies. Born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya he passionate about the planning issues facing African Cities. He has a deep interest in sustainable transportation, urban resilience and new urbanism. He is also a Graduate Member of the Town and County Planners Association of Kenya. He has previously worked at the Strathmore University Advancement Office. He currently works as the Executive Director of Kilimani Project Foundation.

Dandora Dumpsite 2015

The Dandora Municipal waste dumping site is Nairobi’s main (and only official) solid waste disposal site. The former quarry comprises a 30 acre expanse located to the east of Nairobi, about 8 kilometers from the city centre.

The dumpsite is surrounded by both working class estates like Kariobangi North, Dandora and Babadogo as well the informal settlement of Korogocho.

On a daily basis, the City of Nairobi generates over 3,000 tonnes of waste. Approximately 2,000 tonnes are collected and dumped at Dandora. A mix of industrial, domestic, agricultural, medical and other wastes are found scattered at the site due to the ‘unrestricted’ dumping process.

At the dumpsite, local youths sort plastics, cloth and papers. They are part of about 3000 people employed by the site which in effect supports over 5000 people. Each youth can make up to KES 300 per day (3 USD). The youths claim that they would want a good system where companies can buy sorted garbage from them. However, they have a fear for ‘order’ because it is likely to be   corruption-ridden.

It is speculated that the garbage situation in Nairobi is run by cartels that control the collection of garbage in different zones of the city. There are also various groups that are believed to control parts of the dumpsite.

The dumpsite itself faces a number of challenges. It has gradually grown into a mountain of waste. The County Government has long talked about looking for alternatives as the dumpsite continues to approach capacity. The proposed alternatives – Mavoko/Athi and Thika/Kiambu have both been rejected, the former due to being in close proximity to Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and the latter due to failure by the Nairobi and Kiambu County Governments to reach an agreement.

Dandora Dumpsite 2015

The dumpsite has only one functional entrance, and due to this poor access, trucks have to drive into the site in reverse as they go to dump waste. This slows down the dumping process, causing long queues and minimizing the number of trips a collection truck can make in a day. In addition, during the rainy season, the access road becomes muddy and occasionally blocked – further slowing down the process.

The result of some of these problems has been illegal roadside dumping as well as burning of waste by residents. Rivers, forests, and other environmentally sensitive areas have also suffered from the ensuing fallout as business people and residents use them for waste disposal.

Stakeholders have made several proposals for the improvement or upgrading of the site, including construction of a perimeter wall, clearing access to the dumpsite, providing tools for the youth who work at the dumpsite to make sorting easier and improved co-ordination of the collection structure within and outside the dumpsite.

The Nairobi County Government has attempted to boost the collection of garbage by purchasing garbage trucks and allocating them to different zones in an effort to supplement the work of contracted private providers (there are also cases of rivalries among collectors). A joint task force between Nairobi County, National Youth Service and local youths aimed at improving accessibility to Dandora area was also initiated in December 2015. The taskforce was able to make some significant but temporary progress in improving the access route and clearing garbage thereby slightly speeding up the process.

Dandora Dumpsite 2015

There is, however, a need for a long term approach to the problems afflicting the Dandora dumpsite as well as analysis of other alternatives. Garbage collection is a continuous exercise that calls for/demands a well-managed process. Some of the considerations and proposals that have been made include the potential for   professionally recycling garbage, as well as setting up an e-waste disposal factory.

Taking into consideration the livelihoods and/or welfare of those working at the dumpsite and neighbouring land uses what is the most sustainable way that waste can be managed? What would be the best long term solution towards managing Nairobi’s waste?


*just before publishing the Nairobi County Government explained some of its limitations in garbage collection during a public forum with business people. In 1980, the now defunct City Council had 300 garbage trucks; as at August 2016 the Nairobi County Government has only  48 functional garbage trucks.

One comment:

  1. Insightful, I would also suggest that they ugrade Dandora to a sanitary landfill to take care of Public Health and environmental degradation concerns.

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