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Qoshee also known as Repi[1] is a large open landfill[2] which receives rubbish and waste from Addis Abeba, the capital of Ethiopia. The name means "dirty" in Amharic.[3]

The site is located in the southwestern part of Addis Ababa. It has been in operation for about 50 years and, in 2014, was about 36 hectares but shrinking as the result of regulation.[3] A community of hundreds of rubbish pickers lived and worked there.[3] They were known as "scratchers" as they typically carried a metal hook to pry open the waste which was compressed and delivered by garbage trucks.[3]

In 2016, the local authority tried to close the site and relocate dumping to a new landfill site at Sendafa but opposition by local farmers caused the rubbish collectors to move back.[4][5]

In March 2017, a landslide at the site killed more than 113 people, as recovery continues the death toll is expected to rise.[6][7] The country announced three day-national mourning, following the incident.[8] Communications Minister, Negeri Lencho declared that 38 males and 75 females, lost their lives in this tragic event.[9]

One resident attributed the accident to construction work, as bulldozers were levelling the site for a biogas plant.[5]

A 50 (fifty) megawatt waste-to-energy plant is being built nearby at Reppie to burn rubbish to generate electricity.[6][10]


Dumping of waste at Koshe landfill began in 1964, prior to that year, it was an unofficial site for burning dead animals.[11] The landfill is located in Southwest Addis Ababa within the boundaries of Nifas Silk-Lafto and Kolfe Keranio.[12] When Koshe became active, the surrounding area was sparsely populated and beyond the municipal master plan for Addis Ababa.[12] Though, it was the only landfill in the capital city, few documented environmental studies were conducted or published for over 40 years.

Koshe is not a fenced site and has an inadequate buffer between it and other land use activities such as farming and schools, exposing many residents to environmental and health risks. In addition, the area is open to temporary and permanent scavengers. The landfill hosts about 500 scavengers who sell recovered materials from the waste to businesses and farmers.[13]

The facility is being gradually phased out and replaced by a sanitary landfill in Oromia Special Zone, as of 2014, close to 17 hectares have been closed. Part of the land has been put to use including the construction of a ring road highway, siting of a proposed recycling center and a waste to energy project.[1] In August 2016, protesting farmers blocked the pathway to the new landfill forcing the municipal government to direct solid waste disposal back to Koshe.[14]


On March 11, 2017, a landslide at Koshe led to the deaths of 113 people [15] as a number of makeshift buildings were buried in garbage.[16] The majority of the victims were women and children who lived and worked at the dump site selling materials recovered from the waste.[17]

On March 13, 2017, the government began to relocate individuals residing at the dump site to temporary housing.

On 18 March 2017, a government spokesman say that landslide survivors will no longer live at the site and the site will be turned into a park and green space.[18]


  1. ^ a b amanuel (December 4, 2012). "Koshe to close". Capital.
  2. ^ Mahiteme 2009, p. 9.
  3. ^ a b c d Caroline Knowles (22 August 2014), "Inside Addis Ababa's Koshe rubbish tip", Flip-Flop: A Journey Through Globalisation’s Backroads, The Guardian
  4. ^ Nardos Yoseph (26 July 2016), Ethiopia: Farmer Protests Leave City Under Trash, All Africa
  5. ^ a b Agence France-Presse (12 March 2017), "Rubbish dump landslide kills at least 46 in Ethiopia", The Observer
  6. ^ a b Ethiopia rubbish landslide kills 48 in Addis Ababa, BBC, 12 March 2017
  7. ^ Ethiopia rubbish dump landslide: Search for survivors, BBC, 13 March 2017
  8. ^ "Ethiopia declares three day-national mourning after fatal landslide". Reuters. 2017-03-15. Retrieved 2017-03-15.
  9. ^ CNN, Briana Duggan, Ryan Prior and Joe Sterling. "Death toll rises in Ethiopian trash dump landslide". CNN. Retrieved 2017-03-17.
  10. ^ Ben Messenger (2013), 50MW Waste to Energy Plant Part of Sustainable Development Plans in Ethiopia
  11. ^ Mahiteme 2009, p. 19.
  12. ^ a b Mahiteme 2009, p. 2.
  13. ^ Baudouin, Axel; Bjerkli, Camilla; Yirgalem, Habtemariam; Zelalem, Fenta Chekole (2010). "Between neglect and control: questioning partnerships and the integration of informal actors in public solid waste management in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia". African Studies Quarterly. 11 (2–3).
  14. ^ "Waste Management System Moves Back to Repi". Retrieved 18 April 2017.
  15. ^ "Ethiopia landslide: Number of dead at rubbish dump hits 113". 15 March 2017. Retrieved 18 April 2017 – via www.bbc.co.uk.
  16. ^ "Ethiopia Declares National Mourning for Landslide Victims; Death Toll Hits 72". Awramba Times. March 15, 2017.
  17. ^ "At least 46 killed , dozens missing in Ethiopia garbage dump". Agence France-Presse.
  18. ^ "Ethiopia to turn site of deadly landfill collapse into park". News24.


Further reading[edit]

  • Takāhun Bāšā (2004), Environmental Health of Addis Ababa
  • Sandra Dierig (1999), Urban environmental management in Addis Ababa, Institut für Afrika-Kunde
  • Felix Heisel, Bisrat Kifle Woldeyessus, ed. (2017), Lessons of Informality: Architecture and Urban Planning for Emerging Territories. Concepts from Ethiopia, Birkhäuser, ISBN 9783035606706

Coordinates: 8°58′33″N 38°42′44″E / 8.97582°N 38.71224°E / 8.97582; 38.71224