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The Ethiopian Institute of Bio and Emerging Technology has teamed up with Jimma City to scale up waste collection and processing efforts, with the majority being converted into natural compost.

Operating on ten hectares of land on the outskirts of Jimma, the waste conversion plant can produce 75,000 tons of compost per year. Employing 80 workers along the value chain, the plant has already produced over 3,000 tons.

Jimma, the largest city in Southwest Oromia, is known for its coffee and wood products. A 2018 research estimates the city generates 85.8 tons of household waste daily, with an average per capita generation rate of 0.56 kg/day. Biodegradable organic waste constitutes 76% of this total, making it suitable for composting. However, open dumping is the primary disposal method for 35% of residents, and 22% use open burning on vacant land. The municipal service collects only 25% of the waste, disposing of it at a poorly managed site. Waste management systems in the city are poorly organized.

Akofada (DFS Ethiopia)

“The Institute plays a significant role in providing training and laboratory facilities for youths to test and improve their products. Training begins at the root level, covering waste collection and separation. The training duration varies, typically taking two months or more,” said Mulisa Jida (PhD), Director of Environmental Biotechnology at BETin.

After categorizing waste into compostable, non-compostable, recyclable, and non-recyclable, the waste is processed, with some going to facilities like the Repi Energy Plant. Before the Institute’s involvement, Jimma had a smaller waste processing plant. The waste dumping site manager, Kedir Abasiya, stated they produced up to 45,000 metric tons of organic fertilizers. Over forty SMEs are involved in waste collection. Waste collection extends from residential areas to government offices and hospitals.

Around 60% of the waste processed is organic. It takes about three months to produce the compost by using Effective Microorganisms (EM) that promote beneficial microbes and suppress undesirable ones. Waste from hospitals is directed to a dedicated burning site.

The compost product, costing seven birrs per kilo, is certified by the Ethiopian Quality Assurance Agency and available in 50 kg, 25 kg, and 10 kg bags.

According to Mulisa, similar projects have been implemented in Deberebirhan, Kotu, and other regions across the country.

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Daniel, a writer and radio host, has a keen interest in technology. Additionally, he has supported various organizations by enhancing their digital presence in his role as a social media manager.