FILTHY RIVER

Nema welcomes Dorcas Rigathi's plan to rehabilitate heavily polluted Nairobi River

The once sparkling clean river is now dead or nearly so and cannot support life

In Summary

• The problem of cleaning the river basin is enormous and needs billions.

• Officials tasked with transforming the river have been finding it a daunting task.

Youths clean-up Nairobi River in Dandora on May 15, 2019
Youths clean-up Nairobi River in Dandora on May 15, 2019

Nema has welcomed Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua's wife Dorcas' plan to rehabilitate the heavily polluted Nairobi River.

Decades ago, the river was sparkling clean, with fish, water beetles, dragonflies and other water creatures.

Today, the Nairobi River is dead, or nearly so. It cannot support life, except for scum and maggots.

The problem of cleaning the river basin is enormous and needs billions.

Officials tasked with transforming the river have been finding it a daunting task.

On July 20, 2020, efforts to resuscitate the river gained momentum.

Among the agencies tasked with rehabilitating it include Nema, Nairobi Metropolitan Services, the Water Resource Authority and workers from the seven counties where the river drains.

Kiambu, Nairobi, Kajiado, Machakos, Makueni, Kitui and Kilifi counties were to take part in the clean-up.

Nema Director General Mamo Mamo revealed that the authority was pursuing resources to clean the river.

Dorcas Rigathi and National Environment Management Authority director general Mamo Mamo during a courtesy call to discuss her flagship programme on the restoration and rehabilitation of Nairobi River's ecosystem.
Dorcas Rigathi and National Environment Management Authority director general Mamo Mamo during a courtesy call to discuss her flagship programme on the restoration and rehabilitation of Nairobi River's ecosystem.
Image: NEMA.

Mamo said part of the Sh1.05 billion climate change cash secured last year will be used to rehabilitate the river, especially after Auditor General Nancy Gathungu sounded an alarm over the quality of water set to be stored in Sh82 billion Thwake dam.

Gathungu in her audit indicated that the dam’s main supply will be the Athi River, whose main tributary is the Nairobi River.

Approximately two million people from Lower Eastern are gearing up to use the dam to end their water woes dating to the pre-Independence era.

“We will use part of the funding that we got from the Green Climate Fund to restore the upstream of Thwake dam,” Mamo said on Monday.

The director said the fund is for adaptation to climate change by vulnerable communities in the Lower Eastern.

The funding approval was granted during the 30th meeting of the GCF board held virtually on October 6 last year.

The project is titled 'Enhancing Community Resilience and Water Security in the Upper Athi River Catchment Area'.

Kenya will go a long way in improving water security and reducing the impact of drought on ARCA.

On Thursday, Mamo said they welcome Dorcas’s efforts to spruce up the river.

Mamo said the move will help restore activities covering the entire basin.

“The funds that we got from the Green Climate Fund will support the efforts,” Mamo said.

The authority hopes that Dorcas's presence will help mobilise more funds for the clean-up.

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