Athi River Basin

Kenya’s Ministry of Environment, Water and Natural Resources on Monday launched a new program to restore Athi River basin that has experienced rapid depletion due to industrial pollution and human encroachment. Athi River Basin
Cabinet Secretary for environment Judi Wakhungu said the government and private sector partners will spend 25 million U.S. dollars to Kenya’s second largest river.
“The Athi River restoration program focuses on pollution control to enhance access to clean water among riparian communities. State agencies and industries have partnered in this clean up exercise,” Wakhungu said.
The Athi River basin provides a life line to millions of people in Nairobi and surrounding counties who depend on it for drinking water and irrigation.
Wakhungu noted riparian communities have grappled with communicable diseases due to high pollution levels in Athi River.
“The Athi River catchment is heavily polluted due to uncontrolled discharge of industrial waste. Agricultural chemicals have also worsened toxicity in the fresh water body,” said Wakhungu.
Rapid industrialization, mechanized farming and human encroachment are to blame for depletion of Athi River basin.
Wakhungu said the state environmental watchdog has developed new regulations to curb effluent discharge in Athi River.
“Both the public and private sectors will collaborate to reverse declining water quality in Athi River basin. Municipal authorities are part of this program to reclaim a key fresh water body,” said Wakhungu.
Besides industrial pollution, the Athi River basin has experienced negative impacts of climate change.
Wakhungu noted that siltation and invasive species have destabilized the fresh water ecosystem.
“Water hyacinth choking the Athi River basin is to blame for loss of critical species like fish and water birds,” she added. Enditem

Source: Xinhua

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