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Report: Why reclaiming grabbed spaces in Nairobi is a tall order

By Bernard Gitau
Thursday, September 17th, 2020
Environment CS Keriako Tobiko (right) and Kenya’s youngest climate change Ambassador Ellyanne Githae plant a tree during the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer at the Hon John N Michuki Memorial Park in Nairobi, yesterday. Photo/PD/GERALD ITHANA
In summary

Bernard Gitau @benagitau

Kenya has a long and difficult way to go in reclaiming grabbed green spaces in Nairobi County.

The warning is derived from a United Nations-Habitat report that reveals there are 826 public open spaces in Nairobi County. 

Report dubbed Nairobi City County: Public Space Inventory and Assessment indicates the public open spaces measure approximately 7,600 acres. 

Audit has also established comfortable public spaces.

“Some 30.8 per cent of public spaces in Nairobi are uncomfortable to be in, with only 10.8 per cent being comfortable for enjoyment and 58.4 fairly comfortable,” the report showed.

Environment Cabinet Secretary Keriako Tobiko yesterday launched the report. It indicates that 32.5 per cent of public spaces are deserted, making them vulnerable to both crime and misappropriation.

“Green spaces raise the visual landscape value and contribute to the overall environmental aesthetics, in turn positively impacting on the overall image of the city,” said Tobiko.

While expressing concern at the high number of public spaces in the city, the CS vowed the government will do everything possible to reclaim them.

“President Uhuru Kenyatta has directed us to reclaim green spaces in the city. We  have started with Michuki Park, next is City Park and Ngong Forest,” he said.

No lighting

Observed Tobiko: “As a country we have made tremendous progress in phasing out Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS) especially in the refrigeration and Air conditioning sector (RAC).”

The public spaces have uncollected garbage at 42.1 per cent; loud noise 20.4 per cent and bad smell 5.9 per cent.

“Some 62 per cent of the public spaces have no lighting and 38 per cent have lighting,” the report revealed.

 In addition, the report found that 350 of public spaces in Nairobi have uncollected garbage.

Men are the most users of the public spaces at 43.4 per cent and females at 38.7 per cent. There are 14 squares and 413 courtyards in the city.

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