45km of Nairobi River basin reclaimed, says commission

Muracia says reclamation, which started on June 2, has improved water quality by 40%

In Summary
  • Muracia said the reclamation has improved water quality in the rivers by 40 per cent as there is no direct pollution through solid and liquid waste since people have moved away from the river banks.
  • The government recently ordered the demolition of structures around the Nairobi River Basin.
Youth to clean up Nairobi River in Dandora on May 15, 2019.
UPGRADE SEWER SYSTEM: Youth to clean up Nairobi River in Dandora on May 15, 2019.
Image: FILE

The Nairobi River Commission has announced that approximately 45 kilometres have been reclaimed along the Nairobi, Mathare and Ngong river basins.

Commission CEO Brigadier Joseph Muracia said the strides have been made since the start of the riparian reclamation last month.

“The aim is to transform the riparian zones into the city's front yard so the communities living along the river basin can live in dignity. The Nairobi Rivers Commission has been engaging the stakeholders during the last one year and the commission and the communities have agreed upon all the transformation to be undertaken along the rivers,” Muracia said.

He said the reclamation, which started on June 2,  has improved water quality by 40 per cent as there is no direct pollution through solid and liquid waste since people have moved away from the river banks.

The government recently ordered the demolition of structures around the Nairobi River Basin.

The state said buildings and structures within the 30-metre riparian corridor are prohibited by law as they clog the rivers and expose dwellers on riparian reserves to grave danger of loss of life and property.

Today, several structures have been demolished.

Muracia said the commission seeks to have the riverine communities take the lead in some of the activities aimed at transforming the reclaimed areas.

“The commission has held several workshops with the communities and other stakeholders on the best way to transform the riverfront.  The riparian zones will be transformed into green areas through landscaping, construction of community parks, non-motorised facilities including walkways and cycling lanes and urban agricultural zones to include tree nurseries,” he said.

Muracia said new modern elevated bridges will be constructed to ensure that floods in future will not threaten people’s lives.

He said through established community leadership, the people will actively be engaged in undertaking the works within their zones.

“The plan is to transform these spaces from filthy uninhabitable polluted spaces to a green landscape with trees, flowers and other community facilities that will offer a dignified lifestyle to the riverine communities. The communities have agreed to segregate and remove the waste from the riparian zones before the regeneration work begins," he said.

Muracia said the commission has procured some tools and personnel protective equipment which will be distributed to all 18 zones to support the communities in their work.

“The Nairobi Rivers Commission is appealing to any organisations and individuals of goodwill to support the communities to achieve this vision of a clean rehabilitated environment where people live with dignity like other Kenyans,” he said.

The Nairobi River Commission has been coordinating the implementation of 10 thematic areas namely: Catchment reclamation and protection, riparian reclamation and beautification, reduction of waste (solid, industrial, institutional waste and sewerage), people and social (community engagement) as well as drainage and hydrology.

The commission has been coordinating with government MDAs and the county governments of Nairobi, Kiambu, Kajiado, Machakos and Makueni to ensure these thematic areas are adequately addressed through thematic working groups involving the stakeholders.

The NRC started by engaging the communities; who zoned the three rivers into 18 zones.

The next step was the removal of waste from the rivers through physical action and enforcement.

NRC is also working closely with the Ministry of Water and Sanitation, Athi Water Works Development Agency and the  Nairobi county government towards the expansion of the sewer network to reduce the sewer disposal into the rivers.

It has engaged NGOs and other stakeholders who have been working along the rivers to bring together all other NGOs under a coordinated framework.

“Other well-wishers are also encouraged to support the government initiative as we endeavour to transform our rivers into vibrant green habitable infrastructure for a better urban environment and quality of life,” Muracia said.

The sprucing up of the river has however been affected by the ongoing anti-government protests.

The regeneration of the reclaimed riparian land in Nairobi, Mathare and Ngong River basin will commence soon.

The commission needs approximately Sh22 billion to immediately address solid waste, sewerage and industrial waste challenges.

This is in addition to developing the necessary infrastructure and addressing catchment protection and riparian mapping.

More than Sh900 million is needed to tackle solid waste in Nairobi; Kiambu (Sh486 million), Kajiado (Sh516 million), Machakos (Sh647 million), and Makueni (Sh433 million).

This brings the total amount of solid waste management to more than Sh3 billion.

To address sewerage in Nairobi, Sh964 million is needed. For Kiambu Sh2 billion is needed, Kajiado (Sh725 million), Machakos (Sh304 million), and Makueni (Sh450 million), all amounting to more than Sh4 billion.

The total amount needed for solid waste and sewerage management in the five counties is slightly more than Sh7 billion.

The action plan also shows that geo-spatial-riparian mapping needs Sh62 million, drainage and hydrology need Sh3 billion, catchment protection and restoration needs Sh9 billion and industrial and institutional waste management need Sh11 million.

Other resources needed include commutation and community engagement (Sh30 million), employment of at least 1,000 youth (Sh45 million), a joint multi-agency operations centre (Sh20 million), and multi-agency or stakeholder situational analysis (Sh30 million).

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