Kitui County government has relocated its eyesore dumpsite situated at the source of Kalundu River to Kanyonyoo to pave way for an ecological park and accelerate urban conservation.
The township dumpsite, situated approximately two kilometres west of the Central Business District, is choking on raw human, industrial and medical waste, which has replaced aquatic life forms and polluted the once clear waters.
Similarly, the river’s hydrology has been greatly transformed because of continued dredging and the canalization of the river by subsistence horticulture farmers growing vegetables and other crops along the river banks.
Speaking during a familiarization tour Saturday to reclaim the wetland under Kazi Mtaani, the Kitui County Commissioner (CC), John Ondego said that the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) has visited the relocation site in Kanyonyoo and are satisfied that the area was suitable for a dumpsite.
Ondego said that NEMA was concerned with the rising pollution within the Kalundu Ecosystem, adding that establishment of an ecological park will be a crucial component of the sustainable growth of the town and conserve the river’s source.
“It is critical to conserve river sources not only because of the potential to reduce the ecological impacts of urban life, but also because of their potential to communicate new cultural conceptions of the human relationship to nature,” said Ondego.
He said that parks should be managed as systems, not just for the usual purposes of beauty and recreation, but also to help citizens function at their best.
The CC lamented that the once riverine wetland has been reclaimed to create space for buildings, roads and other infrastructure.
Ondego said that the waters are so polluted they are unfit for human use and can only support limited aquatic life.
“The government will rehabilitate the Kalundu River and its network of tributaries by identifying and sustainably addressing sources of river pollution, reclaiming riparian land and initiating landscape management activities, which include tree planting,” said the County Commissioner.
He noted that the main source of pollution was from untreated industrial waste and raw sewage from informal settlements.
Ondego disclosed that degradation of wetlands is triggered by physical modification of the landscape, depletion of wetland biological resources through over-exploitation, encroachment and settlement.
“Grabbing of wetlands along rivers that would have acted as water filters and replacing them with buildings is a major problem affecting all wetlands found in urban areas,” he pointed out.
He noted that solid waste from households and the adjacent Kalundu market has filled up the only landfill in Kitui Town, resulting in the dumping of waste into the main Kalundu River.
The county commissioner said that the national government in collaboration with the county government has come up with a proper mechanism and policy that will involve the residents in the clean-up of the rivers through the National Hygiene Programme dubbed Kazi Mtaani.
The Kitui Municipal Manager, Job Muisyo said that the Kalundu River basin has the potential of becoming a great tourist attraction and create thousands of jobs directly and indirectly by making public green spaces along the river that could continue to host a large variety of biodiversity found in the country.
Muisyo noted that segregating household and industrial waste at the source will ensure proper utilization of recyclable wastes.
By Yobesh Onwong’a