From the discharge of industrial effluent into rivers, poor waste disposal, open garbage mounds, plastic bags and bottles to the release of industrial smoke into the atmosphere; the threat of pollution is a present danger.
There has been a surge in cancer cases that, at a cursory glance, would seem unexplainable, yet the answers have always been with us. Unlicensed, unregulated factories that have over the years bribed unscrupulous Government officials to operate quietly in the background, have greatly contributed to the pollution of rivers in towns housing industries.
Nairobi River is one such into which not only factories pump effluent, but human waste and garbage are dumped there too. The sad reality is that families of modest means live along the river banks and often use the water for cleaning and irrigation. Eventually, heavy metals absorbed by vegetables grown along the river banks find their way onto our tables and finally our bodies, with disastrous results.
Nema and other agencies charged with ensuring our environment stays clean must get out of their lethargy and follow the practical example set by Machakos Governor Alfred Mutua. Early this week, the governor personally oversaw the shutting down of a shoe factory, a suspect in the pollution of Athi River. In 2017, Water Resources Management Authority set aside Sh2.5 billion to clean Athi and Nairobi rivers, but there is little, if anything, to show for it. We cannot afford to continue dragging our feet on environmental protection issues. The time to act is now.
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