Nairobi, 29 August 2916—A side event at TICAD6 explored ways in which to address the mounting problem of solid waste management in African countries. Titled ‘Toward Clean and Healthy Cities in Africa’, the side event heard that although the developed world treated solid waste as a treasure trove which could yield economic returns, in many of Africa’s towns and cities, garbage mounds were a present cause of health concerns. Nairobi City Governor Dr. Evans Kidero said his government was looking into ways of addressing the problems posed by the Dandora dumpsite which took nearly all of the city’s solid waste.
In her address, UN-Habitat’s Deputy Executive Director Dr. Aisa Kirabo Kacyira said Nairobi was symbolized the growth and investment opportunities which were available in many African cities and towns. She said she had seen the city grow exponentially in the last five years. “Sanitation is a serious issue in many of our cities and the reason last year’s Ebola outbreak made international headlines and the attendant response was because of the fact that for the first time ever the disease reached cities and towns,” she said.
The Deputy executive Director said UN-Habitat believed in strengthening national and local governments, adding that this could be done by increasing the technical capacity of those in charge of the cities. Mr. Tadahiko Ito, the State Minister in Japan’s Ministry of Environment said that waste management had become an important issue in Africa as the continent developed. “Japan has overcome barriers by establishing the necessary institutional framework and infrastructure.
We have also improved the capabilities of the people concerned as well as collaborating with private enterprise,” he said. Mr. Ito challenged African countries to address waste management issues squarely by paying more attention to the scourge. The Mayor of Yokohama Ms. Fumiko Hayshi detailed how her city had addressed the issue of waste management staring with an increase in waste through to a corresponding to significant increase in waste and waste sorting by citizens. Ms. Juliette Biao, UNEP’s Regional Director for Africa decried the unavailability of good data on solid waste in Africa.
She challenged African governments to involve the private sector in waste management. Ms. Biao said African countries must be proactive in engaging the citizenry in behavior change in as far as waste management was concerned. Her UN-Habitat counterpart Prof. Oyeyinka Oyebanji also bemoaned the lack of accurate date. He praised the city of Yokohama in its proactive citizen engagement which saw some 11,000 meetings held. According to Prof. Oyebanji, there was need for a very strong political will in allocation of resources towards solid waste management.
He appraised the audience on the pilot Fukuoka Method UN-Habitat is carrying out in Kenya’s Kiambu County. “We are ready to replicate the same in other African countries,” he said. In his address, the Director General of the Global Environment Department at JICA Mr. Kunihiro Yamauchi said the expected huge urban population bulge expected in Africa’s urban areas posed a huge challenge in solid waste management.
He said JICA’s cooperation policy on waste management was hinged on the relisation of 3R’s- reduce, reuse and recycle. Meanwhile the UN-Habitat exhibition at TICAD was well received by visitors. Some of the high profile visitors who expressed satisfaction with the stand included Liberia’s President Sirleaf Johnson, Lesotho Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili and his Tanzanian counterpart Kassim Majaliwa.