As a densely populated city abuzz with different economic activities including trade, tourism and transport among others, Kigali needs thorough policies to keep going green despite the steadily growing population.
Technology is believed to be the key enabler to transform waste and water management to reduce threats to human population and the environment.
With its ambitions to design tech-enabled solutions to transform waste and water management, Kigali City participated in the ‘2021 Bloomberg Global Mayor’s Challenge’ aimed at supporting “the most ambitious ideas developed by cities in response to the Covid-19 pandemic”.
Recently, it emerged among 15 cities that won US$1 million and multi-year technical support in the 5th edition of the Bloomberg Philanthropies Global Mayors Challenge.
It was selected out of a total of 631 cities that had participated in the challenge.
Following the development, IGIHE caught up with the Mayor of Kigali City, Prudence Rubingisa to shed light on pitched project and how the grant will be utilized.
“The project is driven by digital innovation and promising to transforms residents’ livelihoods at a time when they are facing effects of COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.
The Rwf1 billion grant will be utilized to implement the city’s project to transform waste and water management, and tackle the threats created by increasingly intense rainfall through purchase of reservoirs for rain water harvesting and efficient collection of waste.
The project will be rolled out in the sectors of Gitega and Kimisagara particularly in the surroundings of Mpazi water drainage channel where residents from risky zones will be resettled to safer places.
These upgraded housing units will be built by Kigali city in partnership with residents whose land is used for formal settlements.
So far, 217 residents have been resettled in Gitega and Kimisagara while more 74 housing units are under construction.
Rubingisa has said that the project will help to collect rain water which will be purified for home consumption.
“They will be subject to new living conditions where they can use large quantities of water than before at relatively cheaper cost,” he said.
“Else, there is another option to collect waste from these homes using technology enabled solutions helping to monitor the level of waste and collect them once dustbins are full,” Rubingisa added.
A total of 1045 residents to benefit from the technology include those relocated from informal settlement known as Bannyahe in Nyarutarama to Busanza.
Apart from the grant, Rubingisa said that the city will receive experts to provide technical support for implementation of the project.
As Rubingisa explained, training residents on using the technology and having it deployed to different places will have been completed in three years.
“It has been also observed that the project provides job opportunities for segments of the population including the youth,” he said.
Citizens’ inclusiveness was among other aspects considered to select winning cities.
Rubingisa revealed that residents, particularly in Gitega and Kimisagara were highly eager to work with the City of Kigali to implement the project.
Nduba landfill was built in 2011 in Gasabo district following the closure of another dumpsite located in Nyanza of Kicukiro district.
It was later established the project’s design did not consider the landfill’s devastating impact on the environment.
Kigali City says that a new solution has been designed address the problem by turning the wastes into energy or fertilizers.
Rubingisa has explained that the project’s study was completed waiting for an investor for implementation phase.
“The feasibility study for the project to turn biodegradable and non-biodegradable wastes into energy or fertilizers, has been completed to determine the number of tons or kilograms of wastes collected from our homes. The study was done in consideration of the growing population in the city and projected situation in the next 30 years. We will have enough wastes to produce energy or fertilizers,” he affirmed.
Rubingisa disclosed that the tender to exploit Nduba landfill will be offered in February.
“We expect to have an investor to engage in discussions and sign agreement by the end of February so that the Nduba landfill can be exploited in coming days,” he said.
The City of Kigali also plans to address the issue using dustbins fitted with technologies helping to separate biodegradable and non-biodegradable wastes sending notifications to waste collection companies when they are full.