As the world marked World Environmental Day under the theme, Beat Plastic Pollution, environment stakeholders and the county government of Kirinyaga pointed an accusing finger on facilities polluting water sources in the region.
Speaking at Kaitheri Primary School in Kerugoya during the county environmental day celebrations, the Chief Officer for Environment and Natural Resources, Peter Murimi, directed his anger at facilities discharging raw sewage into the rivers.
Murimi singled out Kutus Town, where he lamented that investors have built large facilities to host a majority of Kirinyaga University students without setting aside space for septic tanks.
The chief officer said the investors are posing a danger by discharging effluent at night into the rivers, leading to increased cases of typhoid and cholera reported in the county hospitals.
He warned the culprits that they will go for them.
“The issue of channeling sewers into rivers, especially in Kutus, where we have hostels, is a big problem. They have big houses without septic tanks. They channel raw sewage into the rivers at 12 a.m., causing an increase in typhoid and cholera cases,” he said.
On the other hand, National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) County Director Ezra Ng’ang’a said since the ban of single-use plastic in 2017, local traders have positively embraced the use of biodegradable plastics.
He said in the recent past and in partnership with various security personnel and the county government, they have arrested some people for discharging sewers into the rivers.
The director further acknowledged the formation of the County Environment Committee, which will deal with the pollution, climate change, and biodiversity loss.
“We have arrested some individuals and taken them to court for illegal discharge of effluent. We as NEMA, our mandate is to ensure a clean environment for all,” he said.
Area Deputy County Commissioner Daniel Ndege said protection of water sources was very important and urged the public to seek guidance on the correct species of trees to plant along the river banks.
“Before you plant a tree, seek expert opinion from relevant people. Some trees, like eucalyptus, are not fit to be planted along the river,” he said.
Ndege acknowledged that the single-use plastic was still a challenge and singled out butchers and milk vendors as the main culprits as far as single-use plastics are concerned.
He reiterated that those found discharging sewage into water sources and roads will face a fine of Sh2 million.
By Mutai Kipngetich