• Garbage bins in the city center fill up to the brim and go unnoticed for a while by the Nairobi City Council, but a new mobile app is promising to bring to an end the menace.

    Reporttaka is a mobile application for crowd-sourced information on uncollected garbage around the city of Nairobi. The app allows Nairobians to report unattended garbage whenever and wherever they find it.

    It is no wonder the app won the #SmartCityNairobi challenge, a hackathon hosted by Twitter Inc. in partnership with iHub to promote innovative solutions using the Twitter’s application program interface (API).

    Reporttaka wins and takes home $10, 000. Image credit: http://innov8tiv.com/

    In April, the #SmartCityNairobi Challenge was launched and started receiving innovative ideas aimed at creating solutions to problems in Nairobi using Twitter’s API with the support of Twitter’s Developer Relations Team. By the end of the challenge, the winners would receive cash prizes and incubation.

    As the world moves to a colossal chain of manufacturing, consuming and discarding, the issue of refuse comes to play especially in the city centers and major towns where consumption habits are even more. The matter is made worse by the rapid economic growth, overcrowding, poor urban planning, destructive corruption, and political dysfunctional.

    A walk through Kenya’s capital will confirm that garbage collection, although it is done, requires better strategies to ensure that the piles of waste are collected on time.

    With better garbage management solutions in towns, issues of flooding in the streets and roads could be solved instantly. When it rains, the uncollected garbage accumulates and blocks water outlets, making roads and streets impenetrable. Diseases because of cross contamination increases through the rotting garbage. The aesthetic value of a town or city also wears off in the presence of huge heaps of refuse.

    How the app works

    The app- Reporttaka- allows users to take photographs of uncollected garbage and post to the app. The app then aggregates these reports and forwards them to authorities- in this case the Nairobi county council- for appropriate action. It also allows the users to enter the location of the refuse, giving the authorities more information on the garbage.

    Apart from informing the city council, it also posts on Twitter and tags the concerned authority’s handle, in a move to call to action the relevant authorities.

    With such solutions in place, it will ensure a clean city, unclogged drainages to help manage the flood menace in the city.

    “Through our android application or twitter handle, users can report garbage and leave the follow up to us,” the creators of the app say on their website.

    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 could come in handy when the city council is making policies on garbage collection within or around the city.

    Reporttaka whose mission is to ensure a clean, healthy, and safe Nairobi city, took home $10,000 cash prize for their innovation.


    Image credit:Cynthia Misiki