Who will save Nairobi Dam?

Alfayo Onyango @PeopleDailyKe

When it was constructed over 50 years ago, it was meant to provide clean drinking water to city residents.

But today, Nairobi Dam is gone — enveloped in deceptive greenery floating on putrid filth.

Stretching approximately 88 acres, the water mass once known for its outstanding beauty, recreational appeal, sports and bird watching, human activity is today a victim of cruel environmental degradation, which has completely reduced to an unsightly image.

Through the dam flows the Mutoini River, which joins the Ngong River downstream and sustains life.

Located close to Wilson Airport in Lang’ata, Nairobi, the wetland is hugged by the sprawling Kibera slum, Lang’ata Paradise Apartments, Dam Estate, Waterside apartments and Nyayo Highrise Estate.

And where did the rain start beating the dam?

Urban planners say lack of proper waste management mechanisms has exposed it to filth, turning it into the biggest health and economic hazard in the city.

A visit to the dam reveals that Kibera drains all its sewage into the dam, a blatant environmental violation.

Nairobi Dam is just one of the many water masses that have fallen victim to greed in the city and its environs.

The level of encroachment on wetlands and riparian reserves in the capital has robbed residents of their heritage, life.

And with the ongoing demolitions in Nairobi to reclaim riparian land, buildings along rivers are supposed to be 60 metres away from the highest water mark along the river and between 15 and 30 metres for other streams that form the river network within the city.

Even as urban planners express concern over the urgency of reclaiming the wetland to halt further degradation, the National Environment Management Authority (Nema), established to coordinate various environmental management activities, has lapsed into deadly and unforgivable comatose.

And the city residents are sure paying a heavy price for wanton abuse of dam, other rivers!

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