By Kiptanui Rutto
Residents from Kitengela, Ngong, Kiserian and Ongata Rongai towns will wait a little longer before the Ministry of Environment through National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) to come to their rescue due to private developer choking them with toxic wastes.
According to our research, it will take time for the concern authority to act since those emitting effluent are said to be wining and dining with the high and mighty and no one would dare say a word to them.
In a recent incident in Ngong, the residents claim that the private developer has been a thorn in their flesh with projects that release raw sewerage in the river, leading to the death of crops and animals that depend on water from the river.
The project, according to the details from our source is an apartment with 20 units completed in 2015 but has no sewerage system. They claim to have been threatened for raising concerns in regards to the issue.
However, the residents through Kipkenda and Co. advocates wrote to the developer in 2017 raising their concerns. The developer reportedly halted the discharge for a period of time only to resume again in 2018 with claims that he hosts and dines with the high and mighty on a regular basis thus nothing can be done to him.
The demand letter stated: “Take note that every person has an obligation to promote the protection and conservation of the environment. Any further discharge of effluent must be made into existing sewerage system or disposal sites”.
“We have been informed that the developer hosts them to lunch on a monthly basis and treats them well. Since we are poor we have no one to offer us just a listening ear,” a resident is quoted.
On another incident, a family is living in agony after their house developed crack due to some blasting along Ongata Rongai-Karen border.
The single mother of two who lives with her mother said she has made several reports through writing and even visiting Kajiado NEMA offices but no one has heard her request. She said someone told her that the rock blasting is done by a government official and no one will dare him.
The river cutting between the two regions has a lot off effluents discharged into it from residential areas around their.
Kitengela Rivers are not spared too. Together, with its neighbouring town Athi River play host of a number of factories but it does not mean all factories discharge toxic substances but some of those who are careless.
However, many residential owners do not have proper garbage disposal. Some employ some youth who use carts taking the advantage of the night to dispose them by the river side. This is evident across these towns.
Nairobi River has always suffered the blow due to large number of factories discharging untreated waste. River Athi also which feeds into Thwake Dam and Indian Ocean is not on the good side. There has been an outcry on the safety of waters due to water pollution. Most of the pollutants are attributed to industrial effluent released from Gikuyu and Nairobi areas.
Recently, Water, Sanitation and Irrigation Cabinet Secretary Sicily Kariuki warned that it was criminal for various factories to continue polluting rivers feeding the dam.
Water Quality Regulations 2006 prohibits any person from discharging any effluent from sewer treatment works, industry of other sources into the environment without a valid effluent discharge license issued by NEMA. The regulations also outlines that waste water should be treated before it is discharged into a public sewer line.
Many factories in the country have been contravening these provisions by either discharging untreated effluent into a public sewer or discharging into the environment without an effluent discharge license.
The current Acting director at the NEMA, Mamo B Mamo has, however, refuted the claims stating that the issues on Ngong River have never been brought to his office.