Kenya’s urban water company warned against river pollution

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The National Environment Management Authority of Kenya (NEMA) has issued a warning notice to the management of Nairobi City Water and Sewerage Company to stop illegal discharge of untreated sewer into the environment, or risk prosecution.

Nema’s Director General, Mr Geoffrey Wahungu, gave the urban water company seven days to address the illegal discharges at Industrial Area which find their way into Nairobi River as most industries in the area are connected to sewer lines which are not functional.

He explained that a ground inspection by the authority’s inspectors has established that the urban water firm’s sewer trunk-line was discharging blush untreated effluent directly into the environment causing contamination and pollution of both the soil and water.

“You are therefore directed to stop any further discharge of effluent into Nairobi River within seven days failure to which NEMA will take further action including prosecution without any further reference to you,” said Mr Wahungu in a letter to the water company.

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The environment agency has been carrying out inspection of illegal discharge of raw sewage by factories operating in Industrial Area, Nairobi County, and six individuals have so far been arrested in the process for running premises illegally discharging raw sewage into the environment with five companies closed down by the agency.

Mr Wahungu said that the offense by the urban water firm is denying the affected residents the right to a clean and healthy environment as envisioned in the Constitution. He observed that Section 3(1) of Environmental Management and Coordination Act (EMCA) states that every person in Kenya is entitled to a clean and healthy environment and has a duty to safeguard and enhance it.

“When an offence is committed against this Act by a body corporate, the body corporate and every director or officer of the body corporate who had prior knowledge of the commission of the offence and who did not exercise due diligence, efficiency and economy to ensure compliance shall be guilty of an offence,” he said.

NEMA has issued Nairobi City Water and Sewerage Company restoration orders to repair several damaged manholes across the county.