What you need to know:
- Worse, some industries and property owners shamelessly discharge sewage into these rivers.
- The reduction of parking spaces and creation of bigger walkways by the NMS has given a new feel to the city.
The newly opened Michuki Memorial Park confirms that it is possible to establish recreation centres and clean up the eyesore of the several rivers flowing through Nairobi.
Whereas other cities across the world have turned their own rivers into tourist attractions where residents and visitors go to relax and enjoy themselves, Nairobi River and several others have been turned into garbage disposal zones. Worse, some industries and property owners shamelessly discharge sewage into these rivers.
Naming this park after the late Environment minister John Michuki is not just a big honour, it's also an immortalisation of the huge contribution he made to the campaign to reverse the river's abominable degeneration into muck.
He is fondly remembered for having sworn to be the first person to swim in the filthy river after its restoration. The park's opening is thus a landmark in the city's march towards its own environmental regeneration and beautification. Environment Cabinet Secretary Keriako Tobiko could not have given a more befitting honour to one of his predecessors than seeing this project through.
It's commendable that nearly three kilometres of walkways have been set up together with benches and public toilets. In the pipeline are a café and an amphitheatre for public performances.
This would not have been imaginable in a place that had become synonymous with nauseating stench. This is a welcome collaboration between the Environment ministry and the Nairobi Metropolitan Services (NMS), which is creating bigger open spaces for people to enjoy walking around their city centre.
The reduction of parking spaces and creation of bigger walkways by the NMS has given a new feel to the city.
The message from all this is that development is not just about concrete and mortar, but also about green spaces and trees that fix the environment.
And, as President Kenyatta has said, this is part of a national cleanup for the restoration of forests and recreation centres for environmental regeneration.