Rehabilitation of the Ecosystem of Kigali Nyanza Landfill

Jul 20, 2015

The population of Kigali is on an upward trend, with a projected growth of 4% annually. As a result, there is a constant demand for adequate housing, sanitation, and overall development of infrastructure in and around the city. This has increased pressure on natural resources and the environment, specifically at the former Nyanza Landfill site in the Kagarama sector of Kicukiro District. For the past two decades, the residents of Kigali used the Nyanza Landfill as the sole facility to discard waste. The site collected up to 100 tonnes of waste per day, spilling over to surrounding areas. Living conditions and the natural environment became unbearable. Under the Consolidated Waste Management in Rwanda project, the City of Kigali expropriated the landfill and requested technical and financial support from UNDP to improve the solid waste management system in Rwanda. Today in 2015, two years after the completion of the project, natural life and vegetation has returned to the former Nyanza Landfill site. With the support of the UNDP, it has been transformed into a clean residential area.

Ms. Jane Batamuriza was born in the village where the Nyanza Landfill was located. Her family moved away due to the harsh living conditions in 2008 and has now returned as a result of the transformation of the area.  I was born here, the house of my family was in the middle of the landfill. I was 14 years old when we left the area; it was a messy time. At night we could not sleep from the noise of trucks bringing rubbish to the dumpsite. The odour was bad, fires took place in the dumpsite, flies were in our homes, the waste was discarded everywhere, and many diseases such as diarrhoea were common. These were some of the problems we faced. Only poor people settled here but today everything has changed positively. Now this village is for high standing buildings, the plots are very expensive, the ecosystem is well rehabilitated and natural vegetation is back’’.

The aim of the project, which was operational from 2009 to 2013, was to support the City of Kigali in developing the framework and related infrastructure to make waste management socially and environmentally more sustainable. The overarching project goal was to rehabilitate the ecosystem, close the landfill, redesign the site to be safe and habitable, and increase awareness amongst the Rwandan population about the importance of proper waste management.

With the support of UNDP, the Nyanza landfill was successfully closed and its ecosystem revitalized:

·       A feasibility study on the Fukuoka Method, a form of natural farming without chemicals for Nyanza Landfill facility was completed, and the recommendations applied to effectively release methane gas formed in the dumpsite. This has resulted in the eradication of fires in the former landfill area;

·       Community members were trained to use solid waste as a source of energy by producing high quality combustible briquettes. This contributes to the reduction of organic waste discharge to landfill sites and the avoidance of in-house air pollution, ultimately providing an alternative source of energy to wood;

·       Waste management action plans have been prepared at local and national levels in order to establish an institutional framework for all stakeholders to work together;

·       The revitalization of the ecosystem has spurred urban development and boosted the local economy;

·       UNDP supported the architectural development design of an improved sustainable landfill to be constructed in another district of Kigali city. The Design together with an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) was submitted to the city for resource mobilisation.


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