Environmental stakeholders in Laikipia County have raised an alarm over major river pollution in urban centres.
Speaking in Nanyuki after a clean-up exercise of Nanyuki and Likii rivers where they had collected over 20 tonnes of solid waste within a span of two hours, the environmentalists said besides the ongoing drought, rivers pollution has contributed to people living downstream lacking water for domestic use.
“We have collected a lot of dirt amounting to 20 tonnes and our message to the public is that we are not doing good on the issue of rivers’ conservation,” Aberdare National Park Assistant Director Ms Elema Hapisha decried.
She added that “We depend on these rivers for domestic, wildlife and economic use and therefore, we are telling the people of Laikipia that let us partner so that we are able to conserve our rivers for the sake of our own environment and health.”
Ms Hapisha noted that the environment should be prioritised and cautioned against human activities that pollute the ecosystem.
Water Resource Authority (WRUA) National Chairperson Julius Kiriinya urged the county government to evict people who had built permanent houses along the riparian land and at the same time appealed to the county government to allocate funds to boost their effort on water catchment areas’ protection.
“Water Resource Authority is not able to contain pollution, so we are asking the county government to come up with a structure to help us clean these two rivers of Nanyuki and Likii,” urged the chairperson.
Kiriinya further pointed out that cutting trees and overgrazing in water sources had caused some rivers to dry up. However, he revealed they could be rehabilitated.
Laikipia Wildlife Forum officer Susan Gathoni said plans were underway to sensitize residents on proper waste disposal and management aimed at ensuring the environment is protected.
Recently, horticultural farmers in Laikipia have also been put on the spot for obstructing rivers for irrigation leaving those who live downstream without water amid a souring drought situation.
By Muturi Mwangi