By Lydia Shiroya
Kiambu County Commissioner, Mr.Wilson Wanyanga has asked National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) to investigate the source of effluent that is being discharged into the environment in Thika town.
The administrator said it was important for NEMA to liaise with relevant stakeholders and establish the source of effluent which was being discharged in an underground tunnel serving several industries along Oloitiptip road.
He made the remarks during a tour by the County Development Implementation Coordination Committee while inspecting the road which is currently under construction.
“We cannot have any industry discharging untreated waste water into the environment without using the proper channels as it will affect the people when the water ends up in rivers whose waters are used for dometic purposes,” he said.
Mr. Wanyanga said the lives of the people were paramount and called on NEMA to come on board and address the problem.
Engineer Clive Thathi during the inspection of the road under construction by Kenya Urban Roads Authority (KURA) told the team that some companies had been polluting the environment by discharging untreated water into the underground tunnel. He said the pollution was serious especially on Saturday as the water even changed the colour to blue and emitted a foul smell that choked passersby.
The polluted water is most conspicuous near Matharau slums a densely populated low income residential area. “By the time the water reaches this point, it already has changed colour and nobody knows the source of the pollution,” he added.
“It is not possible to identify which company is emitting the effluent as many of them drain their waste water into the underground tunnel” said Engineer Thathi as he explained challenges affecting his team while they continued to work.
Engineer Wilson Kangethe, the Kiambu County Executive member Roads, Transport, Public Works and Utilities said the conservation of the environment was the responsibility of NEMA but that the county Government would assist whenever called upon to.
Jimmy Owitti, the Kiambu deputy director for NEMA said the effluent discharge license was only issued at the headquarters.
He clarified that all industries were required to pretreat their waste water prior to allowing it into the environment.
He however noted that onsite treatment system was required for all institutions and violation called for punishment by law.
Charity Mwangi, the NEMA officer in Thika sub-county told KNA that her office had not been notified of the incident “otherwise, we shall soon go to the ground and investigate the source of the effluent. It could even be sewage water which is similarly dangerous and relevant authorities need to be put on board,” she said.
During the field visit, CDICC earlier toured Komo Irrigation scheme in Juja sub-county, KURA sponsored roads in Thika and Ndulamagogoni irrigation scheme, a success story which was appreciated by the team.
CIDCC team was constituted via Executive order No.1 of 2019 and assigned duties of assessing and reporting on projects within their jurisdiction for purposes of follow-up so that relevant authorities could work round the clock to upscale those that had stalled for some reasons.
It is chaired by the County Commissioner while other members include the county intelligence, County Information Officer and a Director from the Presidential Delivery unit who is also the secretary.
Through various meetings that have been held since February this year, the team has been able to tour and see progress on specific programmes and also engaged stakeholders and the county Government of Kiambu thereby sharing notes in a bid to serve the public while curbing duplication.