Nairobi stinks, literally

I hear that when you’ve been out of the country for a long period of time and you jet into the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport – it stinks.

It’s not a metaphor, and I’m not trying to be snotty, but I have heard severally that even visitors to the country notice a slightly unpleasant smell when they touch down. Very few are brave enough to say it for fear of some kind of retaliation or getting the evil eye.

But it’s irritating to hear and very thought provoking. So… is this smell confined to the airport or is it the general odour that rises out of Nairobi City?

If it IS Nairobi in general, does that really come as a surprise! This city is filthy and it’s embarrassing to think how used to it we have become.

All one needs to do is count the number of yoghurt containers or maize cobs thrown out of moving matatus or passenger buses. Soda bottles, chocolate wrappers, empty packets of crisps and others are tossed out of windows haphazardly.

Even garbage collection from households is not properly done. If you put your mind to it you can follow the trail of garbage from the point of collection to the amazingly filthy drop-off area. Those in charge of collecting never bother picking up after their mess.

The city centre meanwhile is strewn with litter bins but it is common to see someone missing the bin, shrugging and walking away instead of doing it right.

I’d like to propose that in the spirit of World Environment Day, that passed recently, we dedicate a new environmental year to keeping our city clean. All in favour of this motion say ‘aye’!?

Let us look for that bin and stuff trash in a paper bag until we can properly dispose of it. Since we all know the importance of going green and taking care of our environment, I encourage you to take this up.

Planting trees is cool, but there are other things that preserve the environment. And even if trees generate fresh air, they must be choking under the stench from dirty Nairobi. We can change this.

I know the city centre streets are cleaner than they have been in a long time, but if we embrace it as a personal agenda, we will achieve so much more, no?

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