HoA-REC, in collaboration with the Addis Ababa City Administration, held a local stakeholder consultation meeting in preparation for the closure of Addis Ababa’s oldest, and only, landfill - the Repi/Koshe open dump site. Over 80 participants, representing youth currently living on the landfill, members of the local community, federal government bureaus, the local police, and technical experts, attended the meeting that was held at Hager Fikir Theatre Hall.
Ato Haile Fisseha, General Manager of the Addis Ababa City Administration, opened the meeting with a briefing on how this 43-year-old landfill is already in the process of being closed and will serve as a model for Ethiopia in terms of future landfill closures throughout the country. Dr. Araya Asfaw, Executive Director of HoA-REC, explained that as the city’s population grew, the amount of trash also increased and has resulted into the accumulated trash we see today at Repi (see picture below of woman collecting scavenged items at the landfill).
Dr. Araya Asfaw explained that a new, modern trash dump site is being developed to replace the 36-ha Repi landfill, and continued: “But the question of what Repi should be in the future must always keep in mind the best interest of the surrounding community members.” Currently, a park, recreational area, and or sports facility is envisaged. For residents of the community, the closure will provide them with better livelihood opportunities and safer health conditions. The closure of the Repi landfill is expected to cut carbon emissions by more than half for the next 10 years. The methane capturing system is part of a planned CDM project that will generate income for trash collection and the maintenance of a future landfill in and around Addis Ababa (see before and after diagram below).
Participants (seen below) welcomed plans to move forward with the closure, several mentioning that the closure of the landfill has been discussed and met with inaction many times in the past. “Our primary concerns are centered on future opportunities for residents living on and near the dumpsite, the current conditions in the surrounding community - wastewater treatment, the accompanying smell, and burning of plastic, etc.- and the coordination of future public hearings regarding the closure,” said one neighborhood resident.
Participants also submitted evaluation forms of current conditions related to the landfill. They engaged the panel of experts (representing the Addis Ababa City Administration, HoA-REC, ENDA-Ethiopia and AfD) with first-hand accounts of life in the neighboring community of Koshe and their desire to fully participate in the facilitation of the Repi landfill closure.
In the meantime, the 2-year process of closing the landfill and future plans to welcome a beautiful, public green space within Addis Ababa will be much anticipated.