Few people in Mogadishu realize the danger posed by waste or the health risks it brings to communities and the environment, which is why the many people choose to live nearby rubbish sumps and waste sites.
For example, in Gubadleey a neighbourhood in Mogadishu’s Kaaraan district, big trucks regularly arrive to dump household waste, but the majority of local residents don’t see it as a threat to the environment or their health. Instead, they scour the waste for things that can be reused.
All this waste being dumped here doesn’t just ruin the appearance of the area, it’s also a health hazard for the community. Doctors say the waste causes a range of diseases.
“There are designated areas to store waste, but sometimes you see garbage dumped in nearby areas, which can cause serious diseases during the rainy season and can harm children who play in the garbage dumps,” said Dr Sakarie Abdullahi Tuur Yare, who practices at Kalkaal hospital in Mogadishu.
“Infectious diseases are spread by waste ,” added Dr Sakarie.
The World Bank estimates that [more than 1,500 tonnes of waste are dumped each day in Mogadishu](https://documents1.worldbank.org/curated/en/554051534791806400/pdf/SOMALIA-SCD-08152018.pdf), the majority of it outside of designated areas, overwhelming the capacity of existing infrastructure and collection services. At the same time, Mogadishu is one of the fastest growing cities in the world, with [a population rise of 4.3% each year](https://www.african-cities.org/mogadishu/#:~:text=%5B11%5D%20Urban%20areas%20are%20growing,a%20once%20predominantly%20rural%20society.). This rapid urbanisation is putting additional strain on public services, including for waste disposal.
This is of increasing concern, not just for public health, but also for the health of the environment. According to environmental scientists, the unregulated dumping of waste also threatens local ecosystems. “The environment becomes polluted as a result of the massive amounts of garbage,” says Abdilatif Hussein Omar, an environmental researcher at Somali National University. “Garbage is strewn on our streets, neighbourhoods and even our beaches on a daily basis, so we have to be more careful about protecting the environment.”
Sadly, not all communities are aware of the need for this or how the dumping of waste is harming their health and that of the environment where they live.
Shukri Mohamed Abdi, Bilan Media Reporter