A community advocacy meeting on waste water management was held at the Ministry of Education Resource Centre, Ngong Town last week on the 22nd June. The meeting was organized by Kajiado County Government through the Department of Medical Services, Public Health & Sanitation, Departments of Roads & Public Work, Environment, Olooliser Water Company, Ngong Municipal Manager, Ngong MCA Office and Other Ngong Ward Leaders.
The baraza was called following a letter written by Kajiado County Director Godfrey Wafula directing Kajiado County Secretary via a letter dated 4th June 2018 to:
- Prepare and submit a decommissioning plan for the existing broken down sewer system within 21 days from receipt of the order.
- STOP any further new illegal connections to an already broken down sewer line immediately.
- Ensure all building previously connected to the sewer line have onsite septic tanks or alternative pretreatment mechanism within 12 months from the receipt of this order.
- Explore potential of rehabilitation of the existing broken down Ngong sewer line within three months from receipt of the order
How was the meeting?
The meeting was civil and very engaging even though the attendance was below average. Residents requested the County Government to immediately evict those living within the land which used to be the lagoon. They alleged the public health department is bullying them into building septic tanks in properties which do not have space for any new development. They unanimously requested the county government to rehabilitate the old sewer line as a short term measure.
Comments from some residents in attendance
Mwangi who is a lawyer said, it is unfair to force plot owners whose properties were approved and built when the sewer line was functioning, to build septic tanks. He further said building a septic tank will interfere with the original structural design, risking lives.
Mr Njenga who is a plot owner in Ngong suggested garbage coming from other towns should be stopped immediately. He further said the meeting was poorly attended because people have lost hope. Mr Njenga concluded by saying “we attend meetings but nothing happens after discussions. Hopefully this time around action will be taken”
Mzee Abdi who is the chairman of Ngong mosque said mismanagement was and is still the reason why the County sewerage services do not function anymore. He alleged some environment workers and public health officers on the ground and in the office are corrupt. Mzee abdi concluded by saying “all we get as plot owners from meetings is paper work after paper work and responsibilities to do repairs”
Mzee Cornelius Mogaka said inaction by the public health officers is leaving residents with no option but to take matters in their own hands. He gave an example of how together with his neighbors assisted the police to arrest a landlord who was pumping raw sewage into the road.
Dr Karongo who is a medical doctor said people will no longer accept excuses for failure by those responsible to deal with the sewage problem. He claimed there is a corrupt cartel within the public health services that is behind illegal sewer line connections. Dr Karongo further claimed he has reported illegal connections repeatedly but no action is taken.
Mr Kwaka representing Ngong MCA Hon Sungura said “ the MCA wish is to see a sewer line built to solve the problem permanently” He further said Hon. Sungura recently spent tens of thousands of his own money to unblock the sewer lines and collect garbage within Ngong Town.
New Ngong Public Health Officer Mr Jonathan Mutiso was highly commended by residents for doing a good job since moving to Ngong two months ago.
Kajiado County Public Health and Sanitation C.O Ednah Wakaba:
- Confirmed Athi Water is currently designing a sewer line for Ngong.
- Ordered the public health officers to identify all illegal sewer line connections and take action as soon as possible.
- Requested the Ngong MCA office to assist in reclaiming the grabbed lagoons.
- Promised to get back to plot owners with clear guidelines on how new and old building will be determined
What is a Lagoon?
A sewage Lagoon is a pond into which sewage or any other liquid waste flows from the sewer line. The Ngong Lagoons were located in a section of the now built up area of Ngong Mathare Slums. The Ngong Lagoons land is rumored to be approximately 6-7acres.