Wednesday December 11, 2019

Kenyan Youth Group Clean Garbage while Creating Jobs for Unemployed

While taking a break from carrying garbage cans, Mutisia says that collecting waste is a dire necessity

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FILE - Children stand amid trash in a building earmarked for demolition in the Mathare neighborhood of Nairobi, Kenya, May 17, 2016. VOA

According to the United Nations, uncollected garbage is a growing problem in cities around the globe, especially in areas with fast-rising populations. But there are solutions, as a youth group in Kenya’s capital is demonstrating.

“My name is Isaac Mutisia. I am 35 years old, and I am the co-founder of the Mathare Environmental Conservation Youth Group.”

We’re in the Mathare slum of Nairobi. Six-story high brick apartment buildings are around us. Ladies are selling groceries, and men are selling plastics.

Isaac Mutisia and his colleagues enter a building and climb the narrow stairs. They come out with a big dustbin full of garbage emitting an obnoxious stench.

Some 200,000 people are believed to live in Mathare, in an area of just 2 square kilometers. The slum is not only congested with people, but also with their garbage.

According to the United Nations, one city dweller produces 1 kilogram of garbage per day. For Mathare, it means that every day 200,000 kilograms of trash finds its way into a public space.

While taking a break from carrying garbage cans, Mutisia says that collecting waste is a dire necessity.

“When you have a lot of people in one area and there is no proper way of handling waste, you find that everyone dumps waste everywhere,” he said.

Mutisia says the waste was piling up on street corners and illegal dumping sites. Doctors warn about the health effects of garbage, especially for children.

Doris Shiundi is a physician in a local clinic. In the next room a nurse is giving a sick baby a checkup.

“When you have a lot of garbage on the street like here in Mathare, most of the times we see patients who come here with diarrhea, sometimes cholera. Others come in with food poisoning because they eat on the street,” she said.

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FILE – A student empties a dustbin next to a murky stream near a school in Kenya’s Kibera slums in capital Nairobi, Sept. 21, 2015. VOA

This situation led Mutisia to do something to clean up the garbage, and at the same time meet another challenge.

“We saw the importance of making our community clean and also creating employment among ourselves because there was a challenge of unemployment,” he said.

Mutisia now has 100 youths collecting waste in the area, making money from households that pay to have their trash hauled away. Once collected, the waste is brought to a legal dumping site.

ALSO READ: Kenya Farmers Irrigate Drought-Hit Crops More Cheaply, Cleanly with Biofuel from Cotton Waste

The youths’ effort has caught the attention of local government officials, like Thomas Arimu. “We encourage the youths to copy what Kaka is doing to the neighboring community so that it becomes healthy,” he said.

Mutisia, meanwhile, is on the way to his next mission, visiting the U.N.-Habitat Assembly in Nairobi to talk about Mathare’s public spaces. His dream is to make the area as clean and green as the United Nations compound in Nairobi. (VOA)

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Delhi Has Become Worse Than Hell: Supreme Court

Polluted Delhi even worse than hell, says angry SC

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The Supreme Court of India said that hell is better than polluted Delhi. Wikimedia Commons

The Supreme Court on Monday said that Delhi has become worse than “Narak” (hell) in the wake of deteriorating air quality, mounting garbage and unfit drinking water, and asked why should not the state administration be held accountable to compensate people.

A bench of Justice Arun Mishra and Justice Deepak Gupta queried from Chief Secretary Vijay Dev, present before the bench: “Are you serious about water and air pollution in Delhi… you have just 55 per cent capacity to handle waste, what about the remaining 45 per cent?”

As the Chief Secretary sought to explain that Delhi governance is an issue due to dual power centres, Justice Mishra retorted: “Do not blame others, and think you can get scot free. You are liable to compensate the people. How much money is coming to clean the Yamuna River, and where it is going… What is the status of water in Delhi. We are taking suo moto cognizance of people’s right to get pure drinking water.”

The top court observed that life is not cheap in India anymore, and what was given in Bhopal gas tragedy is nothing compared to what is given to victims in similar cases worldwide. “What is the value of life you assess? People are suffering from bronchial asthma, do you know how many cancer patients are in Delhi,” the court said, adding Delhi government’s top administrative officer has no right to be on his chair.

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The Supreme Court also talks about the deteriorating air quality, mounting garbage and unfit drinking water in Delhi. Pixabay

“Can you monetise the reduction in life span?” the court asked.

Emphasising that state authorities are busy in passing the buck, and in fact, playing the blame game on the issue of water and air pollution in Delhi, an angry Justice Mishra said: “You are politicising the issue of pollution… why governments are not sitting together, instead of blaming each other… everything cannot be done under the noose of this court.”

The top court, hearing the response of Chief Secretaries of Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi in connection with steps taken to curb air pollution, slammed top officials of the state administrations for showing lack of seriousness in responding to pollution matters which cause a direct threat to human life.

The judges said that they were shocked to notice that measures to cut down pollution from stubble burning were nil and steps were only being taken to penalise the violators, despite specific court orders.

Also Read- Climate Change: Greenhouse Gas Concentrations Again Break Records

Pulling up the governments of Haryana and Punjab, the court said: “Why are people being forced to live in gas chambers? It is better to kill them all in one go… Get explosives in 15 bags at one go.”

The apex court also directed the Central Pollution Control Board to file a report on the adverse impact of factories in and around Delhi on the environment. (IANS)