As Nairobi River remains a health hazard, Bomet residents clean up their own


As Nairobi River remains a health hazard, Bomet residents clean up their own
River Nyangores in Bomet County.

Human waste in informal settlements in the city released into the Nairobi River is one of the major causes of pollution.

The river, which cuts through highly populated informal settlement areas has notably been polluted with all types of waste: industrial, chemicals, heavy metals and garbage.

The national and county governments have had several clean-up campaigns over the years with intent to clean it up but their efforts are slowed down by continued discharge of waste.

Rivers in other counties stand a better test to health than the Nairobi River.

Rivers like Nyangores in Bomet County continue to face numerous threats occasioned by unsustainable human activities.

These are water abstraction, pollution by raw effluent from hotels and lodges and industries as well as high sediment load from soil erosion and solid waste dumping.

In Bomet, the World Wide Fund for Nature Kenya (WWF-Kenya) is championing for a community led river health assessment to promote good environmental stewardship of the rivers up and downstream.

Through their respective Water Users Association,, communities living along the River are involved in the assessment of the water quality and quantity.

According to Paul Rono, Chairman Nyangores Water Resources Association, this determines the level of pollution noting that high levels of pollution cannot sustain life of microorganism.

River assessment at Nyangores River is done once in every 3 months. “We check the clarity of water, the level of micro-organism,” said Rono.

This he says is a simple way of ensuring that any waste discharged the standard that supports microorganisms noting that microorganisms indicate life and health of a river.

Communities however need to be involved in River Health Assessments because they live close to rivers, depend directly on them, have an impact on them, and are impacted by their health.

In Bomet, we meet Fred Ngetich, a farmer whose land is on a slope and soil erosion had been a menace for a long time.

This meant that the top soil along with fertilizers used were swept into the river introducing unhealthy elements.

Speaking to Citizen Digital, Ngetich narrated how through a WWF initiative, farmers were taught how to mitigate that pollution .

In 2009, the initiative introduced the planting of the sweet potato vine something he says changed his life completely

The sweet potato vine which is harvested every month before it shots again, has helped the soil from being swept away.

“There are no fertilizers used on the sweet potato vine and this helps not only with the erosion menace but ensures that the land remains fertile,” said Ngetich.

According to Kennedy Bwire- Project officer WWF Mara Programme, local water resource management institutions are legislatively mandated groups of water users, riparian land owners and other stakeholders operating at sub-catchment level.

This programme Bwire says has hospitals, factories county governments among others as stakeholders of water resources management.

Local water resource management institutions are legislatively mandated groups of water users, riparian land owners and other stakeholders operating at sub-catchment level.

Kennedy Bwire

“We are further working with hotels and lodges to embrace effective waste-water management through the adoption of constructed wetland, a sustainable wastewater treatment system which  mimics a natural wetland by filtering hazardous waste water that would pollute water resources,” said Bwire.

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Story By Wangui Ngechu
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