“Koshe” still up in the air

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The Addis Ababa City Municipality revealed that it hasn’t decided on the fate of the city’s oldest continuous waste disposal site called “Koshie” or “Repi” using the area’s name. The city municipality is in the process of requesting 21 million birr from French financial sources, while simultaneously there are plans to turn the disposal waste site’s rubbish into 50 Mega Watts of electricity.
Getachew Ambaye, General Manager of Addis Ababa City Municipality said “Koshie” is being cleared of its rubbish to be sent to a new land fill site of 138.92 hct in Sendafa area around the place called “Chele Wergeno” located 37Km north of Addis Ababa in the Oromia special zone.
More than 40 million birr has been paid to relocate farmers from the Sendafa area. In the new dump site, there will be a modern landfill sanitary system with four trans-filtration sites in four corners of the city; Bole, Akaki, Kolfe and Koshie. These four sites will separate trash into recyclable and non recyclable materials; turning the waste into wealth for some and helping the environment at the same time.
“We’re looking into three options regarding the waste disposal site, one being completely relocating the waste disposal site,” Getachew said adding that the other two options are to do with keeping the two projects side by side or dropping the idea of waste relocation and instead producing electricity right where it is dumped already.
He further said the issue of public safety and health will be taken into consideration in any decision about the waste disposal site, which happens to be relocated in a fairly densely populated area.  
The city municipality said the final decision regarding the waste disposal site which has yet to be made will be done in collaboration with the Addis Ababa city Administration and the Ethiopian Government.
Miskir Negash, Public Relations Head at Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation (EEPCo) said although a study has been made on the electric power potential of waste from disposal site a decision has to be made particularly about “Koshe” with stakeholders like the Addis Ababa city Administration also pertaining to keeping it accommodating and clean.
He also said that any decision on “Koshe” including turning it into a possible source of electricity power has to be compatible with the master plan of the city and those other major cities with huge waste management issues.  Condominium housings that assemble a large number of residents in the same areas and industrial factories are part of its upcoming study on turning their waste into potential electricity sources.    
Cambridge Industries is a company headquartered in London, that so far is the only interested company in the project of turning the rubbish acc umulated for almost half a century at Addis Ababa’s waste disposal site, commonly known as ‘Koshie’ into electricity.
The company plans to generate 50 megawatts (MW) of electric power within one year using a specialized incinerator and has secured USD 100 million from the Green Development Fund on a soft loan basis. The trash is expected to produce electricity for the next thirty years and will provide the country with USD 100,000 per year in carbon credit, Capital learnt.
As opposed to the former trial of producing electricity from methane gas created beneath the rubbish, the current approach is to turn the rubbish itself into electrical power. Methane is a powerful gas that has the potential to pollute the environment 20 times more than carbon dioxide.   
The feasibility study to apply the new technology was conducted by Cambridge Industries in collaboration with the Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation, the City Government of Addis Ababa and the Ministry of Water and Energy.
If implemented, the project will become the largest of its kind in Africa. Only three countries currently produce electricity from rubbish in Africa using the new technology; South Africa (18.5 MW), Nigeria (5.6 MW) and Rwanda (17 MW). 
Previously a Finnish Company, Eco Com was working on 19 hectares of the “Koshe” dump site to produce electricity from methane gas.
About half of the residential solid waste generated in Addis Ababa is organic. Paper accounts for 12.21 percent and plastics 12.43 percent. Textile, metal and glass make up a smaller percentage of the waste dumped at 2.98 percent, 2.15 percent and 3.22 percent, respectively.