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From toxic waste to clean water

Health & Science

By Ally Jamah

Millions of residents of Nairobi’s Kibera slums may soon get clean water from the toxic Nairobi Dam, thanks to a new water purification system piloted in the area.

Local Government Minister Musalia Mudavadi launched the cutting-edge technology from Netherlands, which turns the heavily polluted water from the dam into clean drinking water in five minutes.

Kibera residents buy water from vendors, which is far too expensive for most residents. Supply is also low and unreliable resulting in frequent water-borne diseases. According to the Ministry of Water and Irrigation, unsafe water is responsible for up to 80 per cent of diseases from Kibera

The mobile purification unit can churn 60,000 litres of clean water every day and several units can supply the entire Kibera slums. It can also be used to produce drinking water from the sea and sewage. It costs Sh6 million. "Some people used to think they can’t drink water from the Nairobi Dam But now they are now downing glasses cheerfully," said Multi-Pupose Industries (MPI)CEO Bart-Jan Rozeboom.

Speaking at the Sailing Club in Langata Mudavadi lauded the technology from MPI and urged the Nairobi Water & Sewerage Company to use to it to supply the water-hungry Kibera Slums.


"This is a major step in solving the water crisis in Kenya and we urge all local authorities to take it up and solve its persistent water problems," he said.

The Deputy Prime Minister took several sips from the dam after it had passed through an intensive five-step filtration process, including reverse osmosis and ultra-filtration.

The Dutch Ambassador to Kenya Kenya Laetitia van den Assum said that her government had set aside Sh4.9 billion to improve access to clean and safe water in the country.

"We are happy that the proposed constitution recognises access to clean water as a fundamental right of every Kenyan" she said.

Rozeboom explained that the unit would eliminate the expensive and tedious process of boiling water by Kibera residents and cut instances of water-borne diseases "We are able to produce high quality water like the ones sold in supermarkets at the fractions of the cost," he said

Mudavadi also urged hotels, hospitals to take up the technology to guarantee a supply of clean water in their institutions.

The 350,000 sq meters dam, which can carry 100,000 cubic meters of water, was commissioned in 1953 as reservoir for potable and emergency water supply. But now it has been reduced to marshlands of shrubs and thick weeds.

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