By Treezer Michelle Atieno
According to a recent study conducted by the Nairobi City County and the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), Nairobi’s rivers are highly polluted with hazardous waste. The sources of these pollutants include industrial effluents, domestic waste, and agricultural runoff.
The study identified heavy metals as the major pollutants in the rivers, which include lead, mercury, and chromium. These heavy metals can have serious health effects on humans, including kidney and liver damage and neurological problems.
The rivers in Nairobi are also contaminated with organic pollutants, such as pesticides and fertilizers, which are harmful to aquatic life and can also enter the food chain.
Despite efforts by the government to reduce river pollution, including the establishment of wastewater treatment plants, the problem persists due to weak enforcement of environmental regulations and lack of public awareness.
The Water Resources Authority (WRA) is taking an important step in addressing the issue of river pollution in Nairobi through its upcoming ‘The Nairobi Rivers Clean-up Campaign’ that will soon be launched in Kibera, Nairobi. According to Mohamed Shurie, CEO of WRA, rivers and streams in urban centres are frequently used as open dumpsites for solid waste and liquid waste.
The Nairobi River has been particularly affected by this problem. The pollution caused by plastics and other types of waste does not only damage the environment; it poses health risks and creates a conducive environment for disease-spreading vectors.
To combat this severe pollution problem in water resources, WRA has initiated several measures. To further reinforce these efforts, they have decided to clean up all rivers in Nairobi, starting with the Ngong River at Kibera.
The primary objective of this initiative is to restore the former glory of Nairobi’s rivers while safeguarding the riparian reserve area from adverse impacts due to solid waste pollution. The campaign also aims at promoting sustainable development and conserving water resources for future generations.
During the clean-up process, one of the key activities will be removing solid waste from all Nairobi Rivers, which will help restore their natural beauty and ecological balance.
With this new initiative by WRA, we can hope for cleaner rivers that are healthier for both humans and wildlife alike.
It is essential to take proactive measures towards preventing environmental degradation caused by human activities while simultaneously promoting sustainable development practices that can preserve our valuable natural resources for future generations.