Nairobi River clean-up to begin on September 23

Workers collect waste in the Nairobi River.[Wiberforce Okwiri,Standard] 

The Nairobi Rivers Commission (NRC) announced on Friday that the cleaning and collection of waste in the Nairobi River will officially start on September 23.

The commission presented the Nairobi Rivers Recovery Action Plan at a meeting held in Nairobi.

The plan aims to restore the health and beauty of the river, which has been polluted by solid waste and sewerage from various sources. The areas of operation will include Nairobi, Kiambu, Kajiado, Machakos and Makueni counties.

Mumo Musuva, a commissioner of the NRC, said that the immediate work will entail clearing accumulated solid waste and addressing ongoing sewerage disposal into the rivers from informal settlements, residential areas, illegal dumping sites and properties along the river corridors.

“This will be followed by undertaking a publicity campaign and a community sensitisation program, developing a community engagement framework,” he said.

He added that other tasks will be to provide waste-collection bins, trucks and skip bins for garbage collection to carry waste from informal settlements and residential areas and training communities and actors on the NRC programs and projects.

“Activities will include establishing waste handling centres; waste-bins, transfer recycling facilities in informal settlements along the rivers, continuous monitoring of the rivers for illegal dumping and sewer disposal, enforcement of existing environmental laws and regulations,” he said.

He also said that the commission will establish a 24/7 Joint Multi Agency Operations Center (JMAOC) for monitoring and operations, catchment protection and restoration, riparian mapping, resource mobilisation, initiate National Environment Day for Cleaning and Garbage (Waste) Collection.

Another initiative will be to establish an NRC-Rapid Response Team within water utility companies to tackle sewerage spillage into rivers.

Musuva said that training and capacity building for effective working relationship, ensuring 100 percent commitment through stake holders’ participation for effectiveness and efficiency, developing a community engagement framework to win the populace and local support, working with river-line communities and stake holders as first line soldiers for this operation will form part of the activities.

“The Commission also plans to work with all national and county governments, ministries, State Departments and Agencies, United Nations (UN), civil society, private actors and well-wishers to achieve our vision of having ‘A Clean and Healthy Nairobi Rivers Transformation and Climate Resilient Development’,” he said.

He named the major actors in the operation as National Government and County Governments, concerned Ministries, State Departments and Agencies under co-ordination of NRC four County Governments.

Others will be Ministries of Water, Sanitation and Irrigation, Environment, Climate Change and Forestry, Lands, Public Works, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, Defense and State Department of Devolution.

Regulatory bodies will include Water Resources Authority (WRA), National Youth Service (NYS), Athi Water Works Development Agency (AWWDA), National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), Kenya National Highways Authority (KENHA).

Others are Kenya Urban Roads Authority (KURA), Kenya Rural Roads Authority (KERRA), National Water Harvesting & Storage Authority (NWHSA), County water utility companies, advisory and other stakeholder groups and National Disaster Operations Centre.

The operation will be done in three phases, taking one to eight months, eight to 24 months and 18 months to six years.

Phase One actions will take one to eight months and will include community sensitisation and education, collection of garbage in informal settlements and built-up areas.

It will also include a stop to further solid-waste dumping into informal settlement areas, addressing sewerage, industrial or institutional waste in the rivers basin and surrounding areas, river clean-up campaign to address solid waste pollution.