August 16th 2017

Society / Environment

Garbage crisis puts Athi River residents at risk of cholera

Walking along the streets and estates, one is met with the foul smell of long decomposing garbage. Flies roam the heaps of trash, producing hissing sounds whenever their comfort is disturbed.

By Oscar NdundaTuesday, 02 Aug 2016 14:55 EAT

Residents walking past piles of trash outside residential areas in Athi River.

Once one of the most magnificent small towns in Kenya, Athi River Town, off the Nairobi-Mombasa highway, has lost its  glory. The town is quickly turning into an eyesore, with heaps of garbage, including biodegradable animal and plant products as well as recyclable plastics, piling up in public spaces.

Walking along the streets and estates, one is met with the foul smell of long decomposing garbage. Flies roam the heaps of trash, producing hissing sounds whenever their comfort is disturbed. Unconcerned children playing and walking around the trash reflect the ticking time bomb of infectious diseases like cholera.

Alarmed at the deteriorating environmental standards, the town’s residents are living in fear of a potential outbreak of waterborne diseases. The trash is piling up on dump sites, public roads and even on terraces outside residential areas.

Worried that there might be an outbreak of diseases like cholera and typhoid, the residents now want immediate action taken to avert a crisis. They are blaming the Mavoko sub county municipality for failing in its duty to keep the environment clean.

Residents who spoke to the Free Press said that dustcarts (waste collection trucks) from the Machakos County government that serve the area have not been seen in Athi River since mid-July. After local refuse collection points where residents deposit their waste for onward collection were filled, unscrupulous agents resorted to leaving their waste by the roadsides.

During the rainy seasons like the one just  ended, rainwater mixes with trash, producing smelly substances that children still play within. Residents also walk over the garbage, transferring potentially harmful germs in their shoe soles.

Solomon Mutinda, a local community organizer, said the residents have requested the Machakos County government to address the garbage collection crisis within seven days, failure to which they will hold peaceful demonstrations to the office of the sub county administrator.

The writer is the news editor of the Kenya Free Press





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