When people speak of Nakuru, they visualize pink flamingos, fresh air and a beautiful sunrise on the horizon. A closer look would reveal that everything is not as it seems. If you walked past the Nakuru-Eldma highway, you would be greeted by an odour so putrid that the French Government decided to donate KES 700 million just to get rid of it. I am referring, of course, to Nakuru’s Gioto dumpsite.
In 2006, Agence Française de Dévelopment (AFD), a French development agency, signed a deal with the Nakuru Municipal council, granting them the funding needed to relocate the dumpsite. Six years later, the Council has barely made any progress. To make matters worse, the firm has withdrawn from the agreement, taking their money with them.
Earlier this year, the local government decided it was time to jump start the project. The Council acquired 100 hectares of land from the GK Prison to build a sanitary landfill. The plan was to relocate the garbage from Gioto, turning it into bricks and re-usable paper. The recycling process should have kicked off in February, but it hit few bureaucratic bumps along the way.
According to Nakuru Mayor, Mohammed Suraw, the Treasury was holding the money and the project could not begin without any funding. Suraw, having partnered with the Ministry of Home Affairs to secure the GK Prison land, said that the construction had been held back, pending some logistics from the Treasury.
The Council has also been under constant fire from the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA). The Authority, which has fought tirelessly to push for a sustainable and clean environment, pointed out that the Council was doing little to fix the problem. In fact, NEMA noted that the Council was still using Gioto as a dump-site, despite the fact that new land had already been acquired.
No More Funding
The infamous pit has been a blight on the residents of Kiamunyi and London estates in Nakuru. In fact, it’s no longer a pit. It is a mountain of garbage, erupting with the stench of rejection. AFD has since withdrawn the KES 700 million, arguing that the project was taking up too much time.
The Agency is currently working on empowering small business owners in other parts of Africa through the use of non-government grants and project funding. On the other hand, Nakuru residents will have to put up with the foul smell for a little longer.