A visit to the Dandora dump site in Nairobi, one of Africa’s largest waste dumps, reveals the unsanitary conditions to which the poor living next to the dump are exposed.Dandora, located in a low-income residential area about eight kilometers (five miles) east of Nairobi center, is the main dumping site for most of the solid waste generated by the people living in Nairobi. Health experts have warned residents of the hazards of working in and living near the dump site. For years now, the community, Civil Society Organizations, and Faith Based Organizations have asked the Government to do something about it. Dumping at the site is unrestricted leaving industrial, agricultural, domestic and medical wastes (including used syringes) scattered all over the site. Plastics, rubber, lead paint treated wood, and poisonous chemicals are just some of the hazardous items on the dumpsite.
The Nairobi River is located right next to the dump and some of the waste makes its way into the water, which carries these environmental and health hazards to communities near the dump. Downstream people use the water to irrigate food products which end up making their way to the dinner table. Every day, scores of people, including children, from the nearby slums and low-income residential areas use the dump to find food, recyclables and other valuables they can sell as a source of income. As they pick over the garbage, they are inhaling the noxious fumes from routine waste burning and methane fires. As a result people, including children, living nearby have been suffering from respiratory diseases caused by the burning of trash in the dump.