The Kisumu County government has signed a Sh4.5 billion garbage collection agreement with two foreign companies.
The deal signed with the American-based Global Waste 2 Energy and the Integrated Basic Infrastructure System of the Netherlands will also help the county recycle its waste for energy.
City Manager Dorris Ombara says Kisumu collects more than 473,000 metric tonnes of waste per day. Speaking during the signing of the contract on Friday, Ms Ombara said urgent measures are needed to help improve collection of garbage, which has become an eyesore.
She said that the cleaning and relocation process, which is expected to take 15 months, will be done once the deal is approved by both the national and county government.
“We expect the approval process to take at least one month,” she said.
Kisumu Bio-Energy and Climate Change chief officer Lorna Omuodo said they intended to produce bio-fuels from the project. The current energy tariffs, she said, scare away potential investors.
“We, for instance, pay power bills similar to those of profit-making organisations, yet the county government provides services to residents,” she said.
The project will assist the county produce about 200 megawatts of power daily, Ms Omuodo said.
Kisumu is probably among the few cities in the region with dumpsites in the central business district, posing a health hazard to residents and inconveniencing businesses across the fence.
There have been concerns about the dumpsite by the airports authority, Kenya Wildlife Service, security agencies and the Moi Stadium management.
Lack of land and conflict of interest on the use of waste by-products have hindered efforts to relocate the town’s dumpsite. Leaders and residents could not agree on an alternative site to dump the city waste.
Kisumu’s Mega City shopping mall, the largest in the town and housing a number of hotels and colleges, are affected by the uncontrolled dumping.
The recently upgraded Moi Stadium cannot host games because of the dumpsite with the stench affecting other neighbouring organisations, including Kisumu Polytechnic students.
The chairman of the Kisumu business community, Mr Israel Agina, said that urgent action needs to be taken by the minister in charge of environment to close the dumpsite permanently.
“We cannot boast of a growing investment profile when our city cannot collect waste efficiently,” he said.
But governor Jack Ranguma insists that the relocation of the dumpsite is part of the Kisumu Urban Project (KUP), which he said, envisaged a new plan for the lakeside city.