From Dump to Dollars: Landfill Gas Clean Development Mechanism (CDM)

Addis Ababa’s 36 hectare municipal landfill, open for over 40 years and currently 85% full, will now be closed and transformed into the Repi landfill gas project under the a Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) of the Kyoto Protocol.

The Repi CDM project is based on the capture and flaring of the harmful greenhouse gas methane, which is produced by decomposing organic matter in the landfill site. The revenue from the sale of carbon credits, ‘Certified Emissions Reductions’ will flow to Addis Ababa City Administration.

The Addis Ababa City Administration and the Addis Ababa University Horn of Africa Regional Environmental Center  (HoA-REC), working with an international contractor, have installed the first stage of a methane capture and flaring system.  The Administration has also received financial, technical and capacity development assistance from UNDP’s MDG Carbon Facility and from the UNDP Ethiopia country office.   

Along with the closure of the landfill, the City Administration will also usher in better municipal solid waste in Addis Ababa, including modern technology and sorting facilities for the recycling and collection of municipal solid waste. A new landfill site will also be opened following best-practice management standards.

Reflecting on the closure of this age old site Mr. Hassan Abdu, Addis Ababa City Manager was happy to note that the city administration was committed to move forward with construction of the new landfill and transfer sites.  “The history will be changed from garbage dump area to a recreation area” he exclaimed.

“The Repi landfill gas project in Addis Ababa demonstrates that carbon finance has the potential to achieve triple wins for sustainable development. The project demonstrates a combination of economic benefits, social benefits and environmental benefits,” said John O’Brien, UNDP Regional Technical Advisor on Climate Change Mitigation. He explained, “Firstly, Carbon credits are helping to make economically viable a project that would not otherwise have happened, bringing additional revenues to the City of Addis Ababa. Secondly, social benefits arise from green jobs which will be created from scavengers who currently live on the landfill. Thirdly, the project delivers important environmental benefits through reducing greenhouse gases that would otherwise be emitted into the atmosphere and contribute to global warming”.

Ethiopia has set itself a very bold transformative agenda framed around becoming a middle-income country by 2025 with a carbon-neutral, climate-resilient economy. UNDP is working with Ethiopia to help push forward the country’s development agenda. “We see the nexus between having a carbon-resilient, green economy here in Ethiopia and overall poverty reduction,” Mr. Eugene Owusu, UNDP Resident Representative for Ethiopia, said. 

This project is expected to set an example of best-practice standards for enhancing the efficiency of waste management in Africa’s rapidly expanding megacities. 

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