The Koshe-Reppie waste dumpsite that grabbed national attention a couple of years ago for claiming the lives of 116 people following a landslide possibly caused by methane gas explosion, has now been rehabilitated to withstand and avert future possible catastrophes and environmental hazards.
Realized through a USD 2.4 million financial and technical support from the government of Japan, rehabilitation of the 42 hectare landfill that served Addis Ababa for more than half a century also saw the involvement of Addis Ababa City Administration and UN-Habitat.
The Koshe-Reppie Dumpsite Rehabilitation Project was introduced in 2018, following the fatal collapse of the landfill at Koshe in March 2017. The 50 meters of Waste Mountain suddenly collapsed on waste pickers, residents and animals.
Hiwot Fikadu is one of the survivors of the Koshe disaster. Born and raised in the center of the dumpsite, Hiwot recalls the terrible plight of the 40 children who were under the euphoric mood of an upcoming holiday when they succumbed to fate.
“Numerous livestock and pets also perished along with family members near and around our neighborhood,” Hiwot told The Reporter gazing at some of the photographs of waste pickers on display in a weeklong photo exhibition hosted by UN-Habitat at the Addis Hall, a new exhibition venue located at Meskel square, commemorating “Urban October” – the UN Habitat day celebrated every year in October
The exhibition, open since Thursday, was attended by officials of the Addis Ababa City Administration, UN Habitat Ethiopia and Ambassador Daisuke Matsunaga of Japan.
The photographic exhibition features the activities and the daily lives of some 3,000 waste pickers who struggle to earn a daily living in the Koshe-Reppie Dumpsite. Matsunaga, the outgoing Ambassador, recollected on how the landfill was transformed through the renowned Japanese Fukuka Method – a cost effective solid waste management and treatment technology.
Documents on Fukuoka Method explain that it is a mechanism that installs leachate (waste water) drainage pipes and gas vents to enlarge the aerobic region in the landfill waste layers. This method reduces hazardous substances like carbon dioxide and methane gas that cause spontaneous ignition and landslides.
In addition to its effectiveness in solid waste management, the method is easy to construct, operate and maintain. First introduced in the 1970’s, the Fukuoka Method was designated by the United Nations as an effective method for mitigating global warming.
The government of Japan assigned Professor Matsufuji Yasuchi, a leading expert and one of the founders of the Fukuoka Method, to implement the technique in Ethiopia. The professor and his team have created terraces and gabions, leach treatment pond, and some 75 pipes to vent out the gas in an effort to decompose organic (wet) waste into recyclable material.
Currently, the project cycle has been finalized and the Addis Ababa City Administration has assumed the role of waste management based on the newly created system.