Nairobi slum dwellers face eviction

June 16, 2009 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jun 16 – Over 127,000 slum dwellers in Kibera, Mathare and Mukuru are set to be resettled in Mwiki in efforts by the government to clean the Nairobi River Basin.

According to a statement, more than 200 acres of land had been set aside in Mwiki to settle the people living along the River basin, whom the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) said discharge raw sewage into the river.

“Under the Phase I that ends this month, NEMA identified 212 illegal sewage discharge points into the rivers, 97 of which are from informal settlements. So far the 47 illegal discharges from industries have been stopped through NEMA’s enforcement action,” a statement from NEMA said.

NEMA expects that the relocation of these structures, and the development of a properly planned settlement in Mwiki, Nairobi, will solve the problem of constant river pollution.

“The relevant government agencies are addressing the 68 sewer line-related discharge points,” said the statement.
NEMA said it was working with the Nairobi water and Sewerage Company, the Athi Water Services Board and the Nairobi City council in repairing the broken sewer lines.

“There are three major causes of pollution of the environment in Nairobi which have been identified to be notably solid, liquid waste and sewage,” NEMA said. 

The biggest challenge remains addressing the waste from the 97 informal settlement sources.

“Some of the informal structures have encroached on sewer way-leaves with houses being constructed over sewer trunk mains making access for operation and maintenance of the sewer lines difficult and even impossible,” NEMA said.

The relocation would be preceded by a social study that will allow comprehensive government consultations with affected communities to assess the social impacts of the programme and provide details of options available and actions required for resettlement.

A relocation committee to oversee the resettlement will be announced soon after which the solid wastes from vacated sites will be removed to pave way for rehabilitation activities.

Efforts to clean the Nairobi River Basin is being coordinated by the Nairobi River Basin Programme (NRBP) which is a multi-stakeholder initiative that brings together the Government, UNEP, UN-Habitat, UNDP, the private sector and civil society.

The main objective of NRBP is a “restored riverine eco-system with clean water for the capital City and a healthier environment for the people of Nairobi.”

The programme is anticipated to take three years at the cost of Sh14.5 billion.  The Government will contribute about 30 percent while the rest is expected to come from development partners.


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