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Improve waste disposal in smaller urban areas

By | January 12th 2010

Just last year, as revelations of raw sewage being rele-ased into the Indian Ocean outraged the nation, this newsp-aper highlighted the sorry state of waste disposal nationally. From the indignities of bucket systems in places like Wajir to inadequate and malfunctioning sewerage in every city and town, the country’s story of human waste disposal is incredible. Much may be made of the ‘flying toilets’ in the slum areas, but this is symptomatic of an inadequate system everywhere.

The broken system means the storm drains that run alongside are often filled with waste water, raising the danger of disease outbreaks in rainy seasons. The low coverage forces a reliance on the ‘honeysucker’ industry, where an eye to keeping costs low usually means disposal into rivers. As the urban population is expected to grow significantly in the next few decades, moving from this path-etic state to having decent infrastructure is critical.

We are, therefore, much heartened to see tendering by the Athi River Water Services Board seeking firms to help design criteria for choosing construction companies to build 70km of new sewer lines. The scheme also involves rehabilitation of treatment plants at Dandora and Kariobangi.

Living standards

Only a third of the city’s residents are served (poorly at best) by the existing system. This is the sort of development, therefore, many will welcome. Other towns could also use rehabilitation, restoration or expansion of their sewerage works. Streetlights and roads are great, but sewerage is key to better lives.

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