Ms Om Alhassan, a Khartoum north resident, says that the trash lorry sometimes doesn’t come for a month.
“Every month an officer knocks on our door to collect waste disposal fees, when in fact the truck comes at irregular times, sometimes every two weeks, three weeks or even a month, as you can see the trash is piling up in front of our building from three weeks ago,” she said complaining about the smell and the unpleasant sight in front of her.
Waste is one of the most complex problems in Khartoum State, especially now in autumn as the streets, which have a very poor drainage system, flood with rain waters causing health problems due to the flies and insects.
Waste disposal is the responsibility of many organisations in Khartoum. These include the Khartoum Cleaning Corporation, the Municipality of Khartoum, and the Ministry of Environment, as well as private sector companies previously hired to handle waste that have proved very unsuccessful.
The Sudanese advocacy group “Sudan Democracy First Group” issued a press release in September saying there is a gap in handling 75% of the solid waste in Khartoum state which amounts to 7,000 tons a day. They said there are only 443 waste collection trucks in operation out of 717 trucks and 75% of these trucks have gone past their life expectancy
Malik Bashir, the head of Khartoum Cleaning Corporation, told 7Dnews that the daily total of solid waste in Khartoum is estimated to be 7,000 tons. He said the corporation manages to dispose 60-70% of it but they only have 600 waste collection vehicles, of which 480 are operating properly.
Bashir said, “There’s no zero-waste situation anywhere in the world, even in developed countries. Still, we are working to improve our services and we require cooperation from the people as well.”
He criticised people in Khartoum for not paying waste collection fees, saying that only 15% of residents pay their monthly fees. He also urged residents to sort out their domestic waste and place them at specified locations on time in order to be collected.
There have been rumours regarding medical waste of unstandardised disposal and recycling which have generated panic. Bashir said there are special vehicles, dumps and methods to handle medical waste.
“We work in cooperation with the Ministry of Health, Security authorities, and Municipalities for the disposal of medical waste; it’s handled with care and caution because of their hazards, the waste gets sorted at the hospitals, then moved to the special dump and burners, any mistakes are beyond our scope,” he said.
Bashir said the corporation is working with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to improve waste disposal. He said their joint project involves establishing seven new stations, importing new vehicles and containers. He said the joint project will launch before the end of this year and waste collection will be more frequent.