Kenyan Environpreneur, Eddy Gitonga, Invents Smart Trash Bin

Kenyan Environpreneur, Eddy Gitonga, Invents Smart Trash Bin
Kenyan woman using Smart T-Bin, Credit: African News
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Indiscriminate waste is a leading environmental problem in many countries of the world. In a 2012 World Bank report, global waste was projected to increase by 70%, raising the cost of waste management from $205 billion to $375 billion in 2025. According to World Bank, low-income countries (such as many African nations) face the most challenge when it comes to waste management.

Experts project that Africa’s waste generation is expected to reach 244m tonnes per year by 2025, two times what it was in 2012. Sadly, our waste collection services are grossly inadequate and only 4% of waste is being recycled, according to United Nation Environment Programme (UNEP).

African Business cites low funding and little political attention as the major constraints in achieving sustainable waste management in Africa. Fortunately, scientists are now baiting political attention to waste management by projecting the economic prospects of increasing employment and generating power, among other advantages. This strategy has been quite effective and has slightly improved the waste collection services in central cities. However, the suburbs and rural areas seem to get little or no attention. With most African countries having about 60% of their population in rural areas, we clearly have a long way to go.

While we push for the Africa of fewer or no open dump sites, refuse-clogged street drainages, and stenchy sewage pockets, we must applaud the likes of Eddy Gitonga, a Kenyan environpreneur who invented the high-tech trash bin which not only collects waste but recycles it. A year ago, it was first set up outside Juja City Mall in the north of the Kenyan capital The solar-powered tech bin, also known as T-bin is internet-enabled in order to educate its users about sustainable waste disposal methods that make recycling easy. Before the invention of T-bin, only 20% of the 2,400 tonnes of waste generated daily in Keyan could be recycled, but this new waste disposal method projects to facilitate as much as 95% of the total waste generated by Kenyans.

Read Also: Lagos Generates 870,000 Tonnes Of Plastic Waste Yearly – Firm

Speaking with African News, Eddy Gitonga described his invention thus: “The T-bin is a smart intelligent waste bin that is supposed to educate people on how to separate waste from source, to minimize 95 percent of the waste that ends up in dump sites and increase recycling activities, which will be an economical advantage to our young people and to our country.” Obviously, Eddy uses the proven economic advantage bait to not only attract the government but also the young people of Kenyan into our collective responsibility of sustainable waste management for environmental protection. This is a challenge to young African tech gurus to deploy their knowledge and expertise to help everyday people lead more eco-friendly lifestyles.

Since the first set up of T-bin outside Juja City Mall in the north of the Kenyan capital, many residents are excited to dispose of their waste appropriately and at no cost. In fact, some users testified to using the free Wi-Fi to learn about the environment and how to sort waste for proper disposal. At the moment, over 300 people are said to use the smart trash bin every day. A waste management facility that is free, eco-friendly, and comes with pecks of free internet is both attractive and irresistible. Kenyans have Eddy Gitonga to thank for the invention but shouldn’t other African nations consider adopting this technology?

Although the Kenyan government banned the manufacture, use of polythene bags and single-use plastics in protected areas in 2017 and 2021 respectively, Kenyans are still battling with plastic waste management. Mostly because the illegal importation of plastic bags from Somalia and Uganda continues to keep plastic bags in circulation. Eddy’s invention is therefore a highly welcomed intervention to push the zero-plastics ambition of Kenya.

African Waste Management Outlook, a department of UNEP, maintains that at the current 4% recycling rate, Africa only generates $318 from waste, but with a 50% recycling rate, Africa would generate as much as $4bn from her aggregated Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) of 125m tonnes. Apart from Kenya, other African countries are developing waste management strategies and techniques. However, mainly foreign interventions such as the Trash to Cash (T2C) project (which creates new fibers from pre-consumer and post-consumer waste) seem to be growing exponentially. To see foreign waste management initiatives spread to many countries is very impressive but it is not out of place to call our attention to the need for more indigenous waste management solutions.

No doubt, waste management solutions that are designed by Africans for Africans will edge us closer to a higher percentage of value reclamation from the 240M tonnes of waste projected to be generated in Africa by 2025.

Africa Daily News, New York

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