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Maragua leaders vow to oppose proposed landfill in Gikono Muranga County

Maragua MP Mary Waithira (in red) with Kimorori/Wempa MCA Amos Mwirigi during a public participation meeting held at Gikono village

Leaders from Maragua Constituency in Murang’a County have vowed to block the proposed construction of Gikono dumpsite, claiming that it will be a health hazard to the people living in the area.

The leaders, who led a delegation that toured landfills at Tanzania and in South Africa, said their findings in the two countries show that the dumpsite will be risky to locals.

They said that given that locals live near the area where it will be built, they will be exposed to diseases from the garbage and that seepage may find its way to the boreholes which locals draw water from.

TROUBLED LOCALS

The residents who visited sanitary landfills in Tanzania and South Africa told of troubled locals living near the dumpsite.

They added that upon interrogating them over the dumpsite, they reported that at least two people go to hospital daily complaining of effects of the garbage and water-related problems.

Mr James Mwangi, one of the locals who went for the benchmarking, which was sponsored by the Nairobi Metropolitan Service Improvement Project (Namsip) who are constructing the Maragua landfill, said the South African landfill sits on 1,000 acres of land and built in a valley two kilometres away from residential settlements yet the people still complain of its effects.

The landfill which is being constructed at Gikono will sit in 50 acres of land, 200 meters away from the nearby homes.

AWAY FROM PEOPLE

“If people from South Africa are affected by the landfill which is located in a valley two kilometres away from homes, what about our landfill which will only sit on a 50-acre piece of land and 200 meters away from the people who use water from boreholes? No matter how necessary the project is, it should not be built at a place where people live,” he said.

His sentiments were echoed by Kimorori/Wempa MCA Amos Mwirigi who visited both the Tanzania and South Africa landfills.

Mr Murigi said they were told by experts that they were contemplating doing away with the landfills owing to their environmental effects on the people living around them.

NO CAPACITY

“No matter how much we want proper management of our garbage, the landfill must be built away from our people to avert any danger to them. The county government of Murang’a has no capacity to manage the garbage, which also complicates the matter,” he said.

Maragua MP Mary Waithira said she will petition the National Assembly proposing that the landfill be relocated away from Gikono village to a more expansive piece land either in Del Monte or Kakuzi farms whose leases have expired.

“From our findings, the landfill is best suited for areas where there are no people living around the proposed sites and since the leasehold of Del monte and Kakuzi have expired, the government should look for 100 acres to construct the landfill,” she said.

The MP said she will mobilise the locals to oppose the project should the government ignore their opinion over the project, claiming the sanitary landfill will affect future generations.

– www.nation.co.ke

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