Photos of young men donning Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) retrieved from Nairobi’s Dandora dumpsite have surfaced online, raising concerns over poor disposal of the crucial gear in the fight against Covid-19 that continues to ravage the country.
Dandora is Nairobi’s main dumping ground. It’s estimated that it receives more than 2,000 metric tonnes of waste from the capital city’s 4.5 million residents daily.
In the photos taken by Associated Press Photojournalist Brian Inganga on Sunday, March 28, 2021, the young men, who were found scavenging recyclable materials for sale, claimed they don the gowns to protect themselves during the rainy season, clearly oblivious to the danger posed by the used medical gear.
The men are among many people including street boys who throng the dumpsite to scavenge for plastic materials and other wastes which they later sell to make a living as the economic effects of the pandemic continue to bite hard.
In a report filed by the American non-profit news agency journalist, the men revealed that they had collected the PPEs from the garbage discarded by hospitals and clinics.
They are among scavengers from different parts of the world including India and Mexico who were featured in an article by the international media pleading with their individual governments to prioritise them in ongoing vaccination programmes.
The careless disposal of gowns, masks, gloves and other PPEs that might be contaminated goes against guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization (WHO).
To prevent contamination, it’s recommended that all protective and disinfecting waste should be separated from general consumer waste (food waste, plastic items, paper, and cardboard) by using separate bins and liners. After that, it should be incinerated.
Social media users who have seen the photos are now asking the government to swing into action and avert a potential health crisis.
Dandora dump site, Nairobi Kenya. Men wear PPEs they retrieved from garbage apparently to protect themselves from bad weather. Who said these things are usually burned immediately after use? How dangerous is this? Who is responsible for their disposal? 📸 AP Photos/Brian Inganga. pic.twitter.com/HNKxmf60AY
— Tash (@tashmitambo) March 30, 2021