Rescue Nairobi from fetid hills of garbage

Monday, January 30th, 2023 01:00 | By
Rescue Nairobi from fetid hills of garbage
Garbage dumped at Pangani Junction in Nairobi. PHOTO/Courtesy

It is a sad epitaph that, despite being one of Africa’s greatest cities, Nairobi has lost its sheen and is choking in unimaginable garbage. Granted, Nairobi is not only one of the largest and most influential cities on the continent, but is also a key commercial hub with a unique fusion of modernity and tradition.

Sadly, the city is a pale shadow of its former self, with heaps of trash and raw sewage oozing from all corners. This sorry sight is a mockery of beautification efforts by the county government and the Nairobi Metropolitan Services. A significant volume of the raw muck emanates from burst pipes and clogged drainages.

At City Market, for example, the fetid smell of rotten flowers and stale food is stifling and pungent, repelling traders, customers, and passers-by. And in the streets, alleys and pavements, hordes of hawkers fill every nook and cranny, curtailing public movement and blocking entrances to genuine businesses that pay fees and rates to the unresponsive county government.  A garbage-collection point outside City Market has now become a favourite spot for criminals who, disguised as street boys rummaging for valuables, mug and rob unsuspecting pedestrians.

Between Aga-Khan Walk and Moi Avenue, several concrete flower pots have been turned into litter bins, while those on Mfangano Lane and Dubois Street have become junk yards.  The situation is not different at the main bus station, next to Ronald Ngala Street, and on nearby roads such as Taveta, Tsavo, and Dubois — all preferred havens of criminals. The scrawny rivers are not spared either, with Nairobi and Ngong’ tributaries choking in sleaze. The situation is even more sickening in the city’s Eastlands where, like festering wounds, lie overcrowded estates like Ruai, Shauri Moyo, Makongeni, Ofafa Jericho, Maringo, Dandora and Buru Buru.Nairobi generates over 3,000 tonnes of waste a day, which increases by about 20,000 tonnes every year due to rapid population growth.

With such mountains of sludge, the city is prone to preventable diseases such as the recent cholera pandemic. This infamy is unacceptable. Governor Johnson Sakaja must wake up and smell the muck. He must not make a mockery of the county’s slogan: “Let’s Make Nairobi Work’. Since taking over six months ago from the impeached Mike Sonko, Sakaja has made many pledges to revitalise Nairobi. It is high time he walks the talk. The national government should give him the leeway to work and refrain from fettering his mandate.

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