The Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (KMFRI) is constructing a Sh40 million wastewater treatment project to conserve the marine ecosystem in Mikindani.
The European-funded project, through UNEP will improve the quality of Tudor Creek which has degraded mangroves due to human activities.
KMFRI will use constructed wetland technology that mimics the natural processes of wetlands by using wetland plants, soil and microbes to clean and purify wastewater through manipulation of physical, chemical and biological processes.
“KMFRI through its researchers has come up with a system to treat wastewater through the constructed wetland. The wastewater is passed through rocks, stones and plants. We use natural organisms to purify the water, and when the water enters the sea, it becomes clean water,’’ said KMFRI Director General Prof. James Njiru adding that the water can be used for farming.
Prof. Njiru noted that constructed wetlands are cost-effective and the sewer will flow through gravity.
Residents living downstream in Runyu village, Mikindani ward have been suffering from pungent stench emanating from the wastewater coming upstream from Kwa Shee and Mikindani areas.
“When we did our survey we found out that it is important to assist the locals to mitigate their waste. We are going to extend to other areas when we get funding,” said Prof. Njiru.
He further went on, “The project aims to reduce waste water entering the sea in Mikindani. The sewage that comes from our houses tends to go to the sea thus endangering marine life like fish and polluting the environment.”
The project is akin to the one completed by KMFRI at Shimo la Tewa to enhance the conservation of marine resources in Mtwapa Creek through the reduction of land-based sources of pollution from the Shimo la Tewa prison facility, using the constructed wetland.
Mombasa Deputy Governor Francis Thoya said Runyu residents have been complaining about the sewer water passing through their village on its way to the sea.
“This is a big problem; the sewage that comes from the houses has affected the mangroves to a great extent. Half of the mangrove that was part of Ganahola is all gone today because of this sewage,’’ regretted Thoya.
Thoya noted that the project will preserve the mangrove ecosystem and will spur agricultural growth in Mikindani ward.
He added that if the project succeeds in restoring the mangrove forest, it will contribute to fish production, carbon sequestration and will also promote eco-tourism.
On her part, the area CECM for Blue Economy and Agriculture Kibibi Abdalla said the project will support the Liwatoni Fish Processing plant through an increase in fish production.
“The National Government has built a fish processing plant at Liwatoni and if the fish will decrease the project will be a white elephant. The project will salvage the situation. The purified water will accelerate the attainment of food security,” she added.
CECM for Water, Natural Resources and Climate Change Resilience Emily Achieng said the county government will replicate the sewer treatment plant in other areas since only 20 percent of Mombasa sewer passes through sewer lines and the constructed wetlands are less expensive compared to sewer lines.
By Sadik Hassan