The App Keeping Nairobi Streets Clean


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Solid waste management in Nairobi, Kenya, has been a struggle for the city’s officials who have in the past acknowledged that they don’t have the capacity to handle the garbage generated daily. A new mobile app for crowd-sourced information on uncollected around the city however, promises to help in this regard.

Dubbed Reporttaka, the mobile application allows Nairobians to report unattended garbage whenever and wherever they find it. The platform enables local citizens to take photos of unattended garbage and then posting them on the app, Reporttaka will then inform the city council of the illegal dump sites by posting it on Twitter, tagging the municipality.

It uses both Twitter and Android, in an effort to deal with hygiene and waste issues by allowing users to report incidences of trash around Nairobi.

As a result of its success, the app won the #SmartCityNairobi challenge, a hackathon hosted by Twitter Inc. earlier this year, in partnership with iHub to promote innovative solutions using the Twitter’s application program interface (API).

“When we decided to join Angel Hack’s Hackathon during the Nairobi Tech Week, it wasn’t so much to win, but to be part of the solution that Nairobi needed to be smart. Prior to the event, we had been affected by the floods that occured in Nairobi every time there was a downpour. In fact, the previous day, one of our classmates had to go back home, having covered half the journey to school after the vehicle he was installed. This got us to think of a solution to help solve the flooding menace in Nairobi, and ReportTaka was created,” explains co-founder, Bettirose Ngugi, iLab Africa reported.

The application can also be used by the city council authorities to gather reports and information which would help them in tracking their garbage collection efforts. Such information is helpful when the city council is making policies on garbage collection within or around the city.

“ReportTaka is currently working on building partnerships with players in the garbage industry while refining their product. Being Metta Nairobi members, an initiative by Nest, they are able to meet other entrepreneurs who help mentor and give us feedback,” said Ngugi.

The city’s municipality has struggled with garbage collection despite buying more than 20 new garbage trucks and sub-contracting collection to a private firm, it is hoped that this innovation will make a difference and improve solid waste management services in the city.