Plans by the Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS) to establish an energy processing plant at the Dandora dumpsite are in high gear, the agency said yesterday.
Street children will be hired to sort the garbage before it is taken to the factory.
NMS Director General Mohamed Badi said tendering for the power plant, a project that is being implemented by NMS and the Kenya Electricity Generating Company (KenGen), will be done later this month.
The project was apparently delayed by a feasibility study insisted on by KenGen. Maj-Gen Badi said the NMS had initially proposed a public-private partnership deal, but the Energy ministry decided to build the factory.
“We’ve agreed with the ministry that they will build the factory and NMS will supply garbage,” said Mr Badi, adding that the NMS will provide the land while KenGen will finance, develop, and operate the power plant.
Last August, KenGen advertised for expressions of interest from eligible consultancy firms to conduct a feasibility study for the waste-to-energy plant.
Linear to circular
Mr Badi said the plant is expected to solve the city county’s garbage problem and also add to the country’s power grid.
The dumpsite is three times over-full with more than 1.8 million tonnes of solid waste against a capacity of 500,000 tonnes.
Some 2,500 tonnes of waste is deposited at the site daily. If the project succeeds, Nairobi will join Durban, South Africa, and Addis Ababa in Ethiopia in the league of cities that generate large-scale electricity from garbage.
Maj-Gen Badi also said there are plans to change the garbage collection model from a linear to a circular system. In the former, garbage of all kind is packed together in disposal bags then collected by contractors.
However, the circular model will see residents required to sort garbage, with kitchen waste separated from plastic, paper, metal and packed in different bags using the reduce-reuse-recycle approach.
Once collected from households, it will be taken to the sorting area before disposal.
It is at the sorting area where street children will be engaged to separate the solid waste before it is taken to the energy plant.
“We’re waiting for a law on the new system to be passed by the National Assembly. This will then make it mandatory for city residents to separate waste materials from recyclable materials,” Mr Badi said.
“By using the circular system, raw materials will be recycled to high standard and resources used will be minimised. Things like plastic and paper will go to recycling plants because you cannot burn plastics,” he added.