Dandora dumping ground is one of Africa's largest and most polluted dumping sites. With up to one million inhabitants living in its vicinity the health implications are only beginning to be realized. Nairobi, Kenya. 23/08/2010.
Dandora, Nairobi, is home to one of Africa’s largest dumping sites. Originally intended to fill an old quarry, the site quickly grew and fifty years later now covers over thirty acres in a thick layer of refuse.
Surrounded on all sides by residential areas and informal settlements, as well as having Nairobi river flow directly adjacent to it, Dandora dump poses a multitude of health risks to those living in its vicinity. Furthermore a secondary industry, growing from the dump itself, has meant that a throng of people are now exposed to the rubbish every day as they sift through the waste to find plastic, paper, and metal that can be sold on and recycled by industrial firms.
A report commissioned by the United Nations Environment Program recently found that Dandora has an uncharacteristically high proportion of heavy metals and other dangerous substances in its soil. Among these is lead, whose levels were found to be eight times higher than what is internationally deemed to be safe. With up to one million people living in the surrounding areas, such findings point to potentially huge health implications. Already it has been found that diseases such as asthma, anemia, and various skin infections have become endemic among the children that live in the area. Half of those tested also has lead levels in their systems higher than what is deemed safe. This can lead to damage of both the nervous system and brain.
Last December a two-month ultimatum was given to close down Dandora dump. With over two thousand tons of new rubbish added to the site each day, though, and no other logical alternative; it seems the chances are slim that Dandora dump will be closed anytime soon.