| John Maina
Unlicensed garbage collectors who use carts in Mombasa County are facing the heat
for the oceans of garbage that are threatening to swallow the entire city.
Experts in the industry and residents alike accuse them of dumping anywhere and everywhere after they have collected the garbage from their customers. Most of these garbage collectors use carts and polythene paper bags to collect garbage but instead of taking the trash to the dump-site or various designated collection points around the county, they continue to dump in restricted areas especially those that pose a hazard to the residents and are an eyesore for the city.
The acting city manager for Mombasa, Martin Achal, says garbage collection is a challenge for the county government because most people live in the central business district; generating more garbage than the authorities can handle, especially as the county garbage trucks are almost always in need of service.
Achal says of the sixteen trucks used in garbage collection, only eight are functioning. Having this addressed, and imposing heavy penalties on those dumping illegally, would alleviate the situation greatly, he says.
He said they have information that some people give bribes to the city askaris who man the areas that are not designated for dumping so they can allow illegal dumping. He says the county will take action on those they catch in the act.
However, Stella Abooka, a private garbage collector puts the blame squarely on the authorities and unregistered garbage collection outfits who she says only compound the problem by not following the law.
She suggests that the police should take action on them for risking the lives of locals.
“Some of these people give garbage collectors in general a bad name. The public should be only hire approved cleaning services and garbage collection firms,” she told CTW.
The business of garbage collection is an expensive affair since prices charged by the defunct Mombasa Municipal Council have doubled since last year. This in the long term raises the cost of operations for anyone who is involved with trash collection business in Mombasa County.
On the use of plastic bags for garbage collection services, Ms. Abooka says that her company uses the bags because they know that they are going to take the garbage to the right place at Mwakirunge dump-site where there are people who collect plastic bags for recycling purposes.