Dar es Salaam is one of the most densely populated cities on the African continent, whereby it’s said that 75-90% of its population live in heavily populated unplanned areas, and like most developing cities suffers from inadequate solid waste management. Growing amounts of global consumption and waste production, combined with high density low income living environments and very little to no road access are just some of the problems facing unplanned areas in Dar es Salaam add extra challenges to sustainable solid waste management. This is why BORDA Tanzania has begun to look at decentralized options for solid waste management especially in the unplanned areas of Dar es Salaam, based on experiences and lessons learned from others implementing these systems in the partner network.
BORDA Tanzania has started implementing a new field of service packages in solid waste focused on the basic concepts of ‘Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle’ and Decentralized Solid Waste Management (DESWAM). These service packages take a comprehensive approach towards solid waste management and include everything from source solid waste management, to solid waste collection services, to decentralized solid waste treatment at a DESWAM transfer station facility, to transportation of the remaining waste to a final dumping site. This comprehensive approach focuses on community involvement, decentralization, and waste separation to reduce the amount of waste brought to the final landfill.
DESWAM at Buguruni Transfer Station
The first DESWAM project started by BORDA Tanzania is taking place at Buguruni Transfer Station, Buguruni Ward, Dar es Salaam. Buguruni Transfer Station is operated by the Kisiwani Environmental Group (KEG), a local community based organization that collects waste from a few subwards in the unplanned Buguruni Ward, Dar es Salaam. Prior to our involvement, the KEG was responsible for collecting solid waste from individual households and businesses by push cart/trolley and transporting the waste to the transfer station where it would be loaded onto trucks and taken to the final dumpsite outside of the city.
In cooperation with our partners Sustainable Cities International Network Africa Program (SCINAP), the Ilala Municipality, and the KEG, we have worked together to expand the capacity of the KEG to provide good and new services, transform the current transfer station to a pilot open air Material Recovery Facility, and are currently conducting a small research project on the transfer station site.
KEG Capacity Building
A large component of the project is to explore the best way to provide solid waste management services to unplanned areas. Currently, most unplanned areas have solid waste services provided by small community based groups such as the KEG. In order to help the KEG improve there service and become a more sustainable business our partner team has provided education and training on better business practices, bookkeeping, and solid waste and its separation. Furthermore we have assisted the KEG to procure more equipment to perform better service and establish a basic Material Recover Facility on the Buguruni Transfer Station Site.
What is a Material Recovery Facility (MRF) and what does it look like at Buguruni Transfer Station?
A material recovery facility is a facility where incoming waste is separated into organic (picture 1), recyclable (picture 2), and residual waste and organic waste is composted (picture 3) on site. After completing the compost process, composted organic waste is either given back to the community or sold for profit. Recyclable waste is sold to the private sector or industry to be reused. Residual waste is transported to the final landfill.
What are the benefits of having an MRF?
With increased consumption and waste production, landfills today are filing up at alarming rates. Separating solid waste into organic, recyclable, and residual waste and composting organic waste can reduce the amount of waste transported to the final landfill by 30-60%. In the preliminary stages of the current research project at the Buguruni Transfer Station we have found that after separating waste from a 500 kg push cart only 200 kg of this waste was transported to the final dumpsite. This means 60% of the waste was diverted from the final landfill!
Keep an eye out for new articles in the future about research project progress and results!