Talks on restoring Nairobi River kick off, polluters to be charged

A section of Nairobi River. /FILE
A section of Nairobi River. /FILE

The National Environment Management Authority on Monday kicked off an enforcement exercise aimed at regaining the lost glory of the Nairobi River.

NEMA Chief enforcement officer Robert Orina led the operation at Dagoreti, Kawangware, Karen, the Nairobi Dam and along Mater.

The aim of the operation was to issue orders and closing businesses and activities that do not comply with relevant regulations.

"The exercise starts at Dagoreti slaughterhouses which we had previously closed for polluting the river as it is upstream," Orina said.

NEMA is mandated to exercise general supervision and coordination over all matters relating to the environment.


The Authority is also the principal instrument of the government in the implementation of all policies relating to the environment.

President Uhuru Kenyatta last year chaired a meeting on the regeneration of Nairobi.

Orina said five slaughterhouses had been asked to put in place measures that ensure that the environment is not polluted.

"We are appraising them to ensure compliance. Some of them have challenges. But we will be assessing the

entire river to ensure that the river is clean," he said.

The Dagoreti slaughterhouse has repeatedly been accused of polluting the river.

The river water within the area is always red and animals’ bones are discharged directly into the water

Orina said three Cabinet Secretaries and the Nairobi Governor Mike Sonko will on Thursday make a pronouncement on how the lost glory of the river will be returned.

He said after the tour, they will draft a report outlining what needs to be done to secure the river from pollution.

The late Environment minister John Michuki in 2009 received an international recognition.

This is after putting efforts in place to redeem the River.

The United Nations Environmental Programme presented him with a certificate recognising his efforts.

The river has however been rendered lifeless again by human and industrial waste.

Michuki received the award in Basel, Switzerland, during a UNEP convention.

Factories in Nairobi’s industrial area have often been accused of releasing their wastes to the Nairobi River.

In 2016, the Nairobi City County’s Environment department raised concerns over the pollution of four main rivers in the city.

The four rivers – Ngong, Nairobi, Kirichwa and Mbagathi - have been turned into channels due to the huge amount of waste thrown into them.

Previous attempts to clean the Nairobi River failed.

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