A Sh2 billion investment by a private company, development partners and the government that is in the offing promises to address the thorny issue of waste management in Mombasa County.
The Private Public Partnership (PPP) waste management project being spearheaded by Bamburi Cement Company, will see construction of a state-of-the-art recycling plant to manage all types of waste generated in the tourist town.
Bamburi chief executive officer Hussein Mansi said during the World Environment Day ceremony on Tuesday that the company is working with development partners to have the money available as soon as possible.
“We are looking at investing over Sh2 billion in the plant that will solve the problem of waste management in the tourist town once and for all,” said Mr Mansi.
Mombasa Town has grappled with the problem of waste disposal for years with several attempts to address the issue hitting a dead end.
In 2009, an Italian company, Jacorossi Imprese, was about to be awarded the tender to set up a recycling plant, but the plans were scuttled when the French government, through the French Development Agency promised a Sh1.1 billion grant for a similar project.
In a tussle that sucked in the then Tourism Minister Najib Balala and Prime Minister Raila Odinga, the council was ordered to stop any dealings with the Italian company. The issue has never been addressed again.
Speaking on phone about the new initiative, the cement factory’s head of industrial economy Magdaline Mwende said that the project will ensure that all decomposable and non-decomposable waste is managed.
“Instead of dumping all garbage at sites, we are looking at converting 70 per cent of the waste into green energy that we will use in the industry, 25 per cent into fertiliser and the remaining 5 per cent put into a landfill,” Ms Mwende said.
She said they had already identified a site for the recycling plant and another 30 acres for the landfill.
“The unit will consist of many machines that will sort, treat and convert refuse to coal that we will use for the company’s energy source,” she said, adding that Kenya will also be the first country in Africa with the best technology for managing solid waste.
She pointed out that the expertise involved is environment-friendly and will reduce carbon fuels pollution.
Ms Mwende said the project aims at making the city the best tourist destination in the continent through tourist products and cleanliness.
Ms Mwende added that deliberations among stakeholders, like the municipal council and National Environment Management Authority have been fruitful with all parties agreeing to adopt the system.
She, however, noted that funds remain a major challenge for starting the project initiated last year.
The factory’s public relations officer, Ms Emily Waita, said the company is currently lobbying for funds to fast-track the project.
Mr Mansi said they expected to create thousands of new direct and indirect employment opportunities through the project, and noted, they had been successful with bio-fuel projects in Vipingo and Diani, which had provided jobs to 400 youths.
He said they were investing Sh600 million towards upgrading the plant to resolve the emission challenge.