Will Bamboo Ease the Stink? | God's World News

Will Bamboo Ease the Stink?

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    A student enters the Dandora Secondary School in Nairobi, Kenya. Students at the school next to Kenya’s largest dumpsite hope to purify the air with the help of bamboo plants. (AP/Brian Inganga)
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    The Dandora Secondary School is next to a mountain of garbage. (AP/Brian Inganga)
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    People scavenge for recyclable materials at the largest garbage dump in Nairobi, Kenya. (AP/Brian Inganga)
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    The trash dump was declared full 23 years ago. (AP/Brian Inganga)
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    Students have planted more than 100 bamboo seedlings along the wall that separates the school from the trash dump. (AP/Brian Inganga)
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    People in neighboring country Uganda are also planting bamboo to hold soil in place and to sell for fuel and furniture. (AP/Dipak Moses)
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Next door to a Nairobi school, one of Africa’s largest dumps festers. But students in Kenya’s capital are fighting garbage with greenery. They’re planting bamboo seedlings to filter the air—and mask the stench.

More than 100 bamboo plantings dot the property of Dandora Secondary School. Last year’s seedlings are already nine feet tall and could reach 40 feet when mature.

This year, students planted more. Some carry hoes, others seedlings. They want to transform the school compound into a green haven in their litter-strewn neighborhood. They also hope full-grown bamboo will help filter the filthy air wafting across Mugai Kenyetta Road.

About 400 feet from the school lies the 123-acre Dandora dump. Officials declared it full 23 years ago. Still, hundreds of trucks daily unload more than 2,000 tons of trash from around Nairobi, home to four million people. People say the reek of rotting waste can be smelled for miles.

Pungent smoke billows from morning burnings of shoes, plastics, batteries, medical waste, and more. The toxic haze hinders visibility and leaves some students with breathing issues.

Teenager Allan Sila asserts that sitting in his classroom is like studying in a latrine.

Principal Eutychus Maina recalls being greeted by the smell and smoke when he arrived at the school last year. He knew he had to do something.

“My motivation for initiating the bamboo project in the school was to mitigate the effects of the dumpsite. It really pollutes the air that we breathe,” he says.

Maina decided fast-growing bamboo plants could help reduce the cases of respiratory infections in the community.

Nairobi researcher Aderiana Mbandi is an United Nations air quality expert. She says all parts of the body—including the brain—can suffer from air pollution. Minimizing exposure is the best way to reduce ill effects.

God created plants to use carbon dioxide as part of how they grow. Experts say bamboo is among the best plants for “capturing” carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen.

School officials plan to keep planting until bamboo lines the nearly 3,000-foot wall between the school compound and the dumpsite. Students are also planting two varieties of trees to help green up the area.

But stench and air pollution aren’t the only challenges emanating from the Dandora dumpsite. Vultures feeding on trash are a nasty nuisance too. At mealtimes, students must guard their plates from being snatched . . . and carried to the dump.

Why? God created plants to do heavy lifting when it comes to air pollution. That’s part of why taking care of flora makes good sense—and brings God glory for His gracious care for Earth!

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