Nema flags 148 Nairobi River polluters for penalty as clean-up begins - Beaking Kenya News

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Wednesday, 22 July 2020

Nema flags 148 Nairobi River polluters for penalty as clean-up begins

Hired youths clean up Nairobi River in Dandora on May 15, 2019. The river can no longer sustain life.

The National Environment Management Authority has flagged 148 polluters of Nairobi River it will bring to book during the ongoing clean-up of the river.

The polluters have been mapped out, National Environment Management Authority acting director-general Mamo Mamo told the Star by phone on Tuesday.

He spoke a day after Environment and Forestry Cabinet Secretary Keriako Tobiko put the polluters on notice.

"We are starting a 90-day crackdown today; Nema will be spearheading the crackdown from here (Michuki Memorial Park ) all the way up to the source of the river at Ondiri swamp. We will also be dealing with Nairobi River tributaries,” Tobiko said on Monday.

The river traverses the memorial park named after John Michuki, the no-nonsense Kibaki administration Environment minister.

Nairobi River was a few decades ago sparkling clean and populated with fish, water beetles, dragon flies and other fresh water creatures.

Today, it is technically dead. It no longer supports life, except for insects that feed on dirt.

Many attempts had been made to clean it before Michuki took the bull by the horns and had it cleaned. His successors at the ministry were not as enthusiastic to ensure the river's cleanliness.  

Tobiko wants the river to regain its lost glory.

“The crackdown is going to be sustained, aggressive and merciless,” he said as he outlined an action plan to be operationalised in 90 days.

His target are those discharging untreated water, toxic waste and industrial waste into the river.  Culprit residential establishments will not be spared. 

On Tuesday, Mamo said Nema has hit the ground running to enforce the ministerial directive.

According to him, the environment watchdog has a detailed geo-referencing map showing property owners and action taken in previous crackdowns.

"We know the type of waste each facility is discharging into the river," Mamo said, adding that his team was at the Arboretum on Tuesday.

A multi-agency team headed by Nema has been tasked with the crackdown. The other agencies are the Nairobi Metropolitan Services and the Water Resource Authority. Ten police officers have been attached to the team.

Mamo said the team has been allocated a budget but he did not disclose the figure.

Tobiko said the government is determined to clean the river. Already, the Michuki Memorial Park section of the river is clean.

“The river is becoming clean. You can see the level of cleanliness on the stretch between the National Museums of Kenya bridge and the Globe Roundabout. The water is as clean as tap water,” the CS said.

But the job at hand will be gargantuan, especially as the river snakes through the informal settlements where foetuses and bodies of adults are often found floating.

Last month, two bodies of infants were retrieved from the river in Korogocho by members of Komb Green Solutions.

This brought to 21 the number of bodies retrieved from the river in the informal settlement since the launch of the Nairobi River Restoration Project  last year.

The tally stands at 16 infants and five adults.

Komb Green Solutions is made up of 70 youths based in Korogocho. It was founded two years ago with the authority of Governor Mike Sonko to clean their section of Nairobi River.

Tobiko said the sewer infrastructure along the river course is in a shambles.

However, his ministry in collaboration with the Nairobi Metropolitan Services, the Ministries of Water and Housing are fixing trunk and sewer lines in the informal settlements under a World Bank-funded programme.

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