By Ally Jamah

Prime Minister Raila Odinga has launched a new project that will see the polluted Nairobi Dam restored to its former glory.

The US-based Global Peace Festival Foundation will remove water hyacinth that chokes the dam and turn the weed into organic fertiliser.

The same organisation has cleaned up the Nairobi River in the past year with remarkable success.

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"This dam used to be a place of recreation and fishing when I was young. But now it is an eyesore. I am happy it will now be restored," said the PM at the dam site, yesterday.

The project is expected to take six months and would cost millions of shillings, a bill that will be footed by the foundation. The PM led the symbolic ceremony that cleared sections of the dam of the deadly weed.

"We are committed to restoring the dam to its former health and we will not stop until we are finished," said the Foundation Chairman Hyus Moon.

Enjoy the scenery

Raila joked he used to go to the dam with his wife Ida when they were courting to enjoy the scenery but now that was not possible. Also present was businessman Manu Chandaria.

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Raila said buildings around the dam were illegal since they were erected on illegally acquired public land.

"This culture of grabbing public land and turning it into private property must be stopped if this country is to achieve any meaningful development," he added.

Raila hoped restoration of the dam would create jobs for local youth, through manufacture of the organic fertiliser. He lamented the country was experiencing severe affects of climate change as a result of destruction of the environment and called for a new culture of conservation. "Without a clean environment, it will be impossible for us to survive. We need to change our behaviour towards managing the environment," he advised.

Raila Nairobi Dam Global Peace Festival Foundation