Kajiado County forms body to curb urban pollution

Ole Lenku

Governor Joseph Ole Lenku launches an environmental monitoring unit in Ngong, Kajiado North Sub-county on 16 September 16,  2023.

Photo credit: Stanley Ngotho | Nation Media Group

In an effort to address the garbage menace in the satellite towns of Kajiado County, the devolved unit has set up an environmental monitoring unit.

Dubbed 'Mazingira Unit', the environmental unit is a multi-sectoral unit comprising environmental, public health and county enforcement officers.

The unit, which will be funded by the Ministry of Environment, will be based in the same ministry and will extend its services to Ngong, Kajiado and Kitengela townships and other peri-urban towns.

The three departments will work together on waste management to protect the environment. Public health officers will deal with public health issues, while enforcement officers will ensure that laws are followed.

Under the new plan, uniformed casual workers have been hired and equipped with tools such as spades, wheelbarrows and other equipment.

The idea is to make the towns habitable in the wake of rural-urban migration in the vast county. The county government has been encouraging locals to live in the towns for easy access to government services.

Speaking at the launch of the programme in Ngong on Friday (September 15), Kajiado Governor Joseph Lenku emphasised pollution reduction as one facet of achieving habitable towns.

He said the new unit will restore order to the towns and urged residents to support the unit.

"Garbage in our towns has been the biggest derailment of urbanisation in our towns, we want more people to live in towns with water, good roads and a conducive business environment, my administration is committed to curbing both water and air pollution in towns," said Governor Lenku.

He urged the public to see environmental protection as a personal responsibility, saying the menace of pollution requires a holistic approach.

"We have taken a bold step to close the Ngong dumpsite that has grown over the years, we will turn the site into a people's park and we urge our people to unite in a war against pollution in our towns," he added, also reaching out to local leaders to support the initiative.

Kajiado Senator Samuel Seki is pushing for funding for municipalities to enable them to achieve their goals not only in Kajiado but countrywide.

"We want all the municipalities across the country to be given autonomy. The lack of funds for these municipalities has been the biggest setback. The Senate is pushing for funding of municipalities.

 Kajiado North legislator Onesmue Ngogoyo expressed confidence that the new unit will give Kajiado towns a facelift and make them more habitable.

"The new unit has created jobs for our people and we expect a facelift for our towns," he said.

Mr James Ngugi, the county's chief officer for environment, natural resources and climate change, said the new rapid unit would work from the grassroots of the settlement upwards to ensure it achieves its mandate.

"This is the first environmental watchdog with "teeth" to bite violators of environmental rules and regulations. They will work with other environmental stakeholders to sensitise the public on the importance of preserving the environment," he said.

Both solid and liquid waste have been a burden on the county government in recent years, especially in Ngong, Kiserian, Ongata, Rongai, Kajiado and Kitengela towns.