› Home › Green News › Ecoblog › Mbeubeuss: The dilemma of urban waste

Mbeubeuss: The dilemma of urban waste

Posted 23.11.2013 by Team - View comments

Located 30km from Dakar in Senegal, Mbeubeuss is an unauthorized dump site, stretching over 170 hectares of land on a former lake in the region of Malika. Each day, 350 rubbish trucks dump an estimated 1,300 tons of household waste, from Dakar and environs, in Mbeubeuss.

When Mbeubeuss was created in 1968 no preliminary studies or technical evaluations were carried out concerning its eventual impact. The dumpsite has been growing and increasingly gaining ground, polluting surrounding waters, soils and the environment. It constitutes a source of nuisance to residents and jeopardizes economic activities such as cattle breeding and agriculture.

The following statistics show the health problems encountered by the inhabitants of Mbeubeuss:

Women and children living close to the dumpsite are 5 times more likely to suffer from anaemia and respiratory diseases.

- 40 % of the women have obstetrical problems leading to miscarriages and stillbirths.

- 75% of inhabitant water supply is contaminated with lead. 

- 90% of the pork raised in the vicinity of the dumpsite is contaminated with mercury and should be declared unfit for consumption.

Mbeubeuss: A source of livelihood

Yet Mbeubeuss is also a source of income for about 1,800 people who work in and earn their living from the dump site. Revenue from this site amounts to 13,000,000 Francs CFA per day (the equivalent of 28,000 Australian dollars). People working in Mbeubeuss include pickers (sedentary or migrant), trash dealers and recyclers. Some have monthly earnings that largely surpass the minimum wage in Senegal, but because of the highly negative image of their profession and poor working conditions, these people are marginalized by society.