Before 1972, Gioto dumpsite was a quarry. After it was abandoned, residents started dumping their waste here and the county council of Nakuru turned it into the official dumping site for Nakuru Town.
Gioto lies in London estate of Nakuru. It is about 3 km from Nakuru town on the way to Kabarak. The name Gioto is a derivative of a Kikuyu word meaning a place where waste is dumped.
Gioto Dumpsite sits on a 50 hectares piece of land. Waste from homes, offices, industries and even hospitals finds its way here. It is estimated that on a daily basis, Gioto Dumpsite receives about 250 tons of waste. Definitely not a small amount.
The dumping site is always a hive of activity, especially during the day. Tractors and trucks constantly drive in and out of the site. Offloading and scavenging are the main events that get carried out at the site.
Over the years, Gioto has been a source of livelihood for many Nakuru residents especially those that live in London and other surrounding estates. The waste collectors have found numerous ways of recycling different types of waste and making an income out of it.
Due to the toxicity of some of the dumped waste, the Gioto Dumpsite has posed health risks to people in past years. Before the ban of the single-use plastic bags, the site was always an eyesore as the plastic waste was always strewn around especially after being blown by the wind. This was one of the reasons environmental activist James Wakibia started his ban plastics campaign.
Bad odours, physical injuries and the risk from respiratory diseases are some of the health hazards posed by that site. There is also the risk of heavy metals dumped that could be carcinogenic.
As the dumpsite lacks a proper drainage system, surrounding communities are during the rainy season at the risk of having the toxic waters flowing into their residences. Being on a raised ground, a lot of contaminated water finds its way into Lake Nakuru and Ndarugu river.