NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept 18 – Kenya on Friday joined the globe in marking the World Cleanup Day recognised every third week of September.
In Nairobi the Environment Ministry led a clean up exercise of the Ngong River in Nairobi’s South B estate.
National Environment Management Authority Deputy Director Betty Nzioka told Capital News that the river was polluted with sewage waste and garbage.
“We have started with removal of solid waste, moving some structures that are just on the river bank to even allow access,” she said.
“The river is in a total mess, you can hardly tell there is a river!”
Ngong is one of the three rivers that form the Nairobi Basin River. Others are Nairobi and Mathare rivers.
Part of Ngong River that flows through Mukuru, Nyayo and Hazina in South B is seriously polluted with all sorts of waste. Ms Nzioka said the clean up exercise will include removal of all the physical waste and closure of toilets flushing their waste inside the river.
Joined by the Provincial Administration in the area, the locals, schools, women groups and other partners the exercise kicked off at the Mukuru Nyayo slum.
For the first time in a long time, the river though looking very dirty, could be seen flowing. Ms Nzioka said the clean up exercise was the beginning of a long term project that will ensure the river remained clean even in future.
She said the community around South B estate had been incorporated through the Kazi kwa Vijana Initiative to prevent re-littering on the river.
She further said NEMA had asked the City Council to closely monitor the project and also offer proper sanitation and sewerage facilities.
She also urged the council to provide designated areas for the residents in the community to dispose their garbage and ensure it’s not thrown in the river like was the case before the clean up.
Due to cost implications, Ms Nzioka also noted that NEMA had contacted the private sector and was also appealing for more partnerships to boost sanitation in the slum area.
She also appealed to the locals to support the initiative by observing good environmental practices.
“The people should also look at this cleanup as their own activity. It is good for their health, and will also provide them with the comfort of living in a clean area,” she advised.
She said it was important to support the project to prevent spread of water and air borne diseases.
The three rivers in Nairobi basin meet at Njiru to form Athi River. Unfortunately, Athi River will only become clean after Ngong, Nairobi and Mathare Rivers are cleaned up.