Small-scale traders at the Kware market in Ongata Rongai can now breathe a sigh of relief after the county government began collecting heaps of garbage strewn at the market entrance.
The traders have been complaining for months that the stench from the garbage was chasing away customers and exposing them to health risks.
Mary Wanjiru, vegetable vendor at the market, called on the county government to ensure that the garbage is collected frequently to curb imminent outbreak of diseases.
“This trash has been affecting our business for a long time. Most of my customers had started to buy elsewhere due to the smell. I urge the people throwing the trash to stop. I am happy the garbage is finally being taken elsewhere,’’ she said.
A resident Fred Kiti said he was happy with the development as they have had to endure the stench from the garbage for over four months. “We have been crying for a long time. The smell makes living here unbearable. I am happy that our complaints and cries have finally been heard and the cleaning up has begun,” he said.
On her part Julia Moraa, a resident of Ongata Rongai estate, said the garbage problem was not only at the market but also in the estates as people disposed of garbage haphazardly oblivious of the dangers they expose themselves to.
Moraa said some residents dispose trash on the streets and public areas at night as they do not want to pay garbage collection fees making it hard to completely rid the area of the menace.
Similarly, residents of Oloolua have raised concern with the continued illegal dumping of garbage at the Oloolua forest by garbage trucks. Oloolua Community Forest Association chairman, Christopher Mureithi, called on Kenya Forest Services (KFS) to be vigilant and arrest the illegal dumpers as the forest was now being turned into a dumping site.
He said the forest which covers 618 hectares was home to a significant acreage of indigenous trees and is an important wildlife refuge and biodiversity area.
Apart from dumping, quarrying, encroachment as well as development of major roads and the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) through the heart of the forest put it at the brink of massive destruction.
Mureithi said a group of environmentalists cleaned the forest every two weeks adding: “But this is not enough, stakeholders need to do more to keep the forest clean and safe.”
by Rop Janet/ Kelvin Wachira