Why Cities Smell Bad

By Ambessaw Assegued

One of the most intractable challenges Addis Abeba has faced for decades is the manner of waste disposal in the city. But it is not just the capital, as urban cities such as Adama too grapple with the problem. Lack of it has led to streets that are often flooded and, worse, smell bad, writes Ambessaw Assegued.

It is not much of a rain and it does not last long enough to account for the havoc that befell the city of Adama, in the Oromia Regional State, in the aftermath of a recent storm. The rain results in runoffs that start to run along the edges of the street and spread quickly to the middle of the roads. A murky mix of slurry mud and litter flows in search of drains to discharge its toxic cargo.

Alas, the network of crisscrossing concrete channels, the open-drain systems designed to carry the stormwater away from the urban centre, are already plugged with discarded plastic bottles, sand, dirt and debris.

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