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Cleaning Nairobi River needs proactive approach

By Editorial | Apr 19th 2018 | 1 min read
Section of Nairobi River near in Kayaba slums. [File, Standard]

Cleaning the heavily polluted Nairobi River calls for more serious and concerted effort on the part of the National Environment Management Authority. Not for the first time, there have been perfunctory attempts to clean the river, yet the closest that came to being a reality was in 2008 when then Environment Minister John Michuki personally led the push. Success was registered when sections of a sparkling clean Nairobi River ran for a few months, then suffered a relapse after Mr. Michuki left the ministry.

Nairobi River is heavy with both human and industrial waste. Garbage from surrounding markets and informal settlements along the river bank is being dumped into the river, thus compounding the pollution menace. Accusing fingers point at some factories suspected of releasing industrial effluent into the only river that runs through a section of Nairobi city.

In 2008, proposals were made to relocate more than 125000 informal settlement dwellers along the banks of Nairobi River. To achieve this, Sh12 billion was set aside, but nothing tangible has been registered. In early 2017, Water Resources Management Authority (WRMA) earmarked Sh2.5 billion to clean Athi and Nairobi Rivers. The results are yet to be seen.

The need for the National Environmental Authority to move away from the proposal and planning stages to the practical stage where results are seen cannot be overemphasized. The bottom line is that public funds cannot not be allocated and spent where nothing positive being registered.

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