ADDIS ABABA – Bahir Dar City officially inaugurated a national pilot project that implements the Fukuoka Method in the city as an alternative and sustainable urban solid waste management.
The project is worth 745,000 US dollars (approximately 32 million Birr) and is jointly funded by the Government of Japan, the Government of Sweden and the City Government of Bahir Dar.
The launching event was attended by ITO Takako, the Japanese Ambassador to Ethiopia, Aisha Mohammed, Minister of Urban Development and Construction, Dires Sahlu, Mayor of Bahir Dar City,and other city officials.
The Government of Japan provided funds worth a total of over USD 3.1 million to UN Habitat for the ‘Emergency Support to Solid Waste Management in Ethiopian Cities’ which was implemented at the open dumpsites in Addis Ababa, Bahir Dar and more recently in Hawassa city.
Minister Ayisha explained that Solid Waste Management is one of the three major urban basic services identified by the government.
It is directly related to urban good governance and that cities are assessed annually on their performance based on those basic services, according to the minister.
Most Ethiopian cities have open dumps, without full control and leachate treatment facilities leading to the continuous burning up of waste and build-up of methane gas to dangerous levels.
Ayisha said the ministry “is very much happy to see” the pilot project in Bahir Dar is successfully done and appreciated the implementing agency, UN Habitat, and financiers of the project, Japan and Sweden.
Japanese Ambassador ITO Takako said that the Fukuoka Method, which was co-developed by the Fukuoka City and Prof. Matsufuji of Fukuoka University is a cost effective and easy semi-aerobic method in accelerating decomposition of solid waste and reducing hazardous substances.
The project in Bahir Dar has improved the living and health conditions of around 100,000 residents living around the dumpsite and further downstream areas, said the ambassador.
Bahir Dar is one of the rapidly growing cities in Ethiopia with over 400,000 inhabitants.
Mayor of Bahir Dar Dr. Dires mentioned the city has infrastructure development backlogs to in different sectors of which one is the Solid Waste Management area.
The city has an open dumpsite which is poorly managed and not fully controlled, causing environmental and health risks on the nearby communities.
The Fukuoka semi-aerobic landfill management project is cost efficient and can be done by available local materials and labor, contributing to the city’s growth in addition to the health benefit to the city’s residents.
The Mayor has thanked the Gov’t of Japan and the Swedish governments for their kind financial contributions and UN HABITAT for successfully implementing the project.