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Nema in Sh1b plan to clean five rivers

A resident of Ortut village in Gilgil joins his livestock in searching for drinking water following the harsh weather condition that has seen various rivers and dams dry up. The Water Resource Authority has now slapped a water rationing programme in all rivers under the Lakes Naivasha-Nakuru sub-region.

Five heavily polluted rivers that flow through urban areas will be cleaned up in a Sh1 billion five-year plan by the National Environmental Management Authority (Nema).

Nairobi, Molo, Sabaki, Sosiani and Kiseti rivers in Nairobi, Nakuru and Kisumu counties will be regenerated in the project involving county governments and other stakeholders.

Beside identifying sources of pollution, Nema will also enforce regulations and remove waste from areas near the rivers.

Among the rivers identified for restoration include Molo in Nakuru County, Nairobi River as well as Sabaki, Sosiani and Kiseti in Kisumu.

According to Nema, the rivers are heavily polluted mainly due to lack of sewerage facilities in informal settlements.

The authority's deputy director in charge of enforcement, Salome Machau, said that the regeneration programme would require Sh200 million every year.

Zoning dumpsites

She said that Nema is working closely with counties to zone dumpsites, industrial areas, parkings and other amenities as part of the programme.

“Currently rivers passing through urban towns are clogged up by waste. We are confident that if funded we shall achieve our objective of regenerating the five rivers,” said Ms Machau.

She said industrial pollution and release of human waste into the rivers remained a major challenge.

“We shall demolish structures on riparian land, charge those releasing waste into the rivers and educate the public on the need to conserve the water bodies,” she said.

Speaking in Naivasha during a workshop, Machau also announced that lakes Naivasha, Victoria, Elementaita, Nakuru and Indian Ocean would also be rehabilitated in a different programme.

The authority's deputy director in charge of aquatic and wetlands, Stephen Katua denied that the disappearance of some fish species in Lake Victoria was due to pollution.

Instead, Mr Katua blamed over-fishing which he said had led to the disappearance of twelve fish species.

“There have been reports that the decline in fish stock in Lake Victoria is due to pollution. This is far from the truth,” he said.

“The biggest challenge facing the lake is over-fishing, lack of restocking and water hyacinth,” he said.

Katua said Nema is working with researchers to seek ways of dealing with the invasive weed.