By Boniface Muoka
The Environment Principal Secretary (PS), Charles Sunkuli has refuted claims that Nairobi River is choking with garbage due to neglect.
Sunkuli said rehabilitation of the river is an ongoing exercise by the Environment Ministry.
He said a team deployed by the government camps every day at select sections of the river to remove solid waste materials being washed downstream.
Speaking on Tuesday while inspecting the cleaning of the river along Kyambi drive in Lavington, the PS said the Nairobi River Basin Rehabilitation Programme is currently underfunded but the Ministry has proposed an enhanced budget in the next financial year.
The PS called on the Nairobi City County Government to take up the responsibility of rehabilitating the Nairobi River, saying it is a county government function.
Sunkuli said there is need for the Nairobi City County Government to come up with a clear strategy for solid waste management and crack down on those who discharge raw sewer in the river.
He said an assortment of solid waste materials, including plastic bottles and torn pieces of clothes are washed downstream every day from residential premises neighbouring the river especially in Kawangware.
The PS said unscrupulous property owners discharge effluent into the river oblivious of the health hazard it poses.
Sunkuli called on the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) and the County Government to deal with private developers who have encroached on the river’s riparian area.
He said effective and efficient rehabilitation of the river requires partnership by relevant institutions.
The rehabilitation of the Nairobi River started five years ago under the late John Michuki who was then the Minister for Environment and Natural Resources.