NEMA crackdown on landlords discharging raw sewage to roads in Kitengela

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NEMA officer marks a residential building discharging raw sewage into the environment in Kitengela town.
Photo by KNA.

The National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) has threatened to close down 20 apartment blocks in Kitengela town for discharging raw sewage onto the roads.

Kajiado County NEMA Director Joseph Kopejo said the landlords were contravening the Environmental Management and Coordination (Water Quality) Regulations, 2006 by discharging effluent into the environment without an effluent discharge license.

            Kopejo, who was speaking after leading a crackdown on several high-rise flats in Kitengela Tuesday said the move was prompted by incessant complaints by residents over the raw sewage menace on the roads and their neighbourhoods.

            He revealed that unscrupulous landlords had resorted to discharging raw sewage into the roads at night and during the rainy season to avoid incurring sewage exhaust charges.

The NEMA team conducting an inspection tour of residential houses in Balozi, Kyang’ombe, New Valley, Noonkopir, Mlimani and Mirriams estates were met with foul odour and raw sewage flowing freely on the roads from the rental buildings.

The landlords of the 20 houses which were marked for improper disposal of effluent were given a week to comply or their properties would be shut and tenants ordered to vacate.

The director vowed to crack the whip and ensure all those found guilty of polluting the environment were dealt with in accordance to the law.

He added that apart from polluting the environment, the raw sewage was also a health risk to residents as it exposed them to water-borne diseases like cholera.

Duncan Nanga a resident of Kyang’ombe estate said they had suffered for many years due to the raw sewage discharge onto the roads and urged NEMA to take stringent action against those polluting the environment to deter others with similar intent.

            Nanga said the area could suffer cholera outbreak if immediate action was not taken. “I want to urge NEMA to take stern action against landlords who continue to release sewage into the roads as they are putting our health at risk. This menace has been going on for years, the first thing that greets you when you come here is an odorous sewage,” he said.

            Another resident Fidelis Wanjiru reiterated that the raw sewage was a health risk especially to small children as they play with the flowing discharge oblivious of the danger they were exposing themselves to.

            Wanjiru accused public health officers of sleeping on the job saying no action was normally taken when they reported the landlords emitting effluent to the roads.

Another resident Margaret Mavuu added that many septic tanks in flats overflow especially when it rains contaminating water supply pipes. She called on the County Government to build a sewage treatment line in Kitengela town to permanently solve the raw sewage disposal menace.

“The whole of Kitengela town does not have a sewage treatment plant. Buildings rely on septic tanks which often overflow as the cost of exhaust is very high and therefore a permanent solution to this menace is building a sewer treatment plant in Kitengela,” said Mavuu.