As the population of the city of Kigali is expected to double in the next decade, better living conditions, affordable housing, waste management, water scarcity, and transportation remain the key issues. But what is encouraging is that the Rwandan government has stepped up its policies to address the long-standing issues of the country. Rwandan government approved a pilot smart waste management project in early September. The incumbent government also plans to expand it to other parts of the country.
For now, the implementation of the project will happen in 10 key markets in the districts that make up Kigali. According to reports, Rwanda’s ministry of ICT is already looking for a firm to implement the smart waste system for Kigali city. An African Union-backed non-profit organization partnering with the government to implement the project, Smart Africa Secretariat said in a statement that the project will start as soon as any firm signs the contract. It further said that waste management in Rwanda is still costly. Hence, the urgent need for an effective system to sort and collect waste.
In early December, the ministry plans to finalize the winning designs of the project. The proposed project has an estimated worth of $100,000. However, the plan is comprehensive and consists of waste collection, transportation, treatment, recycling, and waste disposal. Experts had continuously maintained that the manual management system it uses, is now outdated and poses numerous environment-related issues.
The Need for a New Smart System
According to the official data, the city of Kigali collects nearly 450 tons of water per day. However, authorities now hope that the project will make its waste management data-driven and smarter. The ministry of ICT said that it will also reduce fuel emissions from garbage collection trucks across the city. Kigali is now home to more than 1.6 million people. It is among Africa’s fastest-growing cities in the continent.
The proposed plan features smart waste stations and smart dustbins, to help sort and collect the waste. The dustbins will have a real-time monitoring system. It alerts the waster collector of garbage fill levels using sensor technologies. Also, a solar-powered stations will introduce waste sorting at generation sites. They will have dashboards with all the collected information that can be displayed and analyzed. It will also feature a Geographic Information System and end-to-end security system featuring CCTV cameras.
Waste Management in Africa
Official estimates suggest that the urban population of Africa will triple over the next five decades. The local garbage collection services serve only 30 percent of urban dwellers, an environmental assessment report revealed in 2018. About 29.5 percent dump waste in the fields and 30 percent in nearby bushes. Kigali only has Nduba dumpsite which is a potential health hazard to the neighboring residents.
Urban experts have constantly maintained that the fastest growing cities in the continent will require technology-based and innovative engineering solutions. Perhaps, government across the continent are now listening to advice and taking their environment and public health seriously. A public-private partnership will pave the way for a better and smarter Africa. However, do you think smart waste will solve Africa’s waste problem?