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Innovative ways needed to improve Nairobi River water quality-Dr. Olet

There is a need to find local and international innovative ways of improving the water quality of Athi River that has been polluted by effluents from industries.

The Nairobi River Commission (NRC) Chairperson, Dr. Pamela Olet, has said it is high time the government collaborated with local companies, NGOs, civil society groups, and communities to ensure the quality of the water from the Nairobi River is improved right from the source.

“The most important thing is to provide quality water to our people for use. When we talk about innovations locally or Internationally, we are trying to see how we can collaborate with other stakeholders to improve the water quality,” said Dr. Olet.

Speaking to the media during a visit to Thwake Multipurpose Dam, that receives water from Nairobi River, the chairperson emphasized the need to carry out thorough research, besides monitoring the effluents being emitted into the river that she blamed for increased cases of cancer among the residents of the Lower Eastern Region.

Pollution of the river upstream has also increased cost of constructing Thwake Dam, for the water will first be diverted to a treating plant, before it’s distributed to the residents for domestic use, she added.

Consequently, Dr. Olet said Thwake will be a game changer for the Lower Eastern Region as it will create job opportunities for the unemployed youths especially in the agriculture and energy sectors.

“We have seen once we are done with this project, a lot of economic activities will be generated, besides the livelihoods being created in the agriculture and energy sectors,” she reiterated.

The chairperson disclosed that her organization was using awareness and persuasion in reaching out to companies contributing to the pollution of Nairobi river to ensure the trend was curbed.

However, Dr. Olet warned that NRC will take stern measures against companies that will fail to stop emitting raw effluent into the river.

“We may be forced to review our policies and regulations if persuasion fails to work. Then we move to another level of enforcement,” Dr. Olet warned.

She disclosed that NRC is also involved in planting of trees in catchment areas in Kiambu, Kajiado, Machakos, Nairobi and Makueni counties respectively.

On his part, the Officer in Charge of Health Safety and Environment at Snowy Mountains Engineering Corporation (SMEC), Ibrahim Mwakare said that Thwake dam was faced with the threat of silting due to huge heaps of sand deposited by Thwake river, following heavy rains that has pounded the area in the last three weeks.

“We have witnessed huge heaps of sand deposited at the confluence of Thwake and Athi rivers after heavy rains pounded the area in the past three weeks. A lasting solution must be found as this threatens the existence of the dam due to silting,” warned Mwakare.

Also present at the event was NRC Deputy Chairperson Prof. Eliud Blama among others.

By Patrick Nyakundi

 

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