Raw sewage is flowing freely in parts of the Chuka open-air market in Tharaka-Nithi County.
The effluent is from a nearby public toilet and traders have protested over failure by the county government to repair the sewerage system.
On Tuesday morning, the sewer burst, spilling its contents on cabbages, tomatoes, sukumawiki, mangoes and other goods that had already been displayed for sale.
“The sewage system burst and the waste water washed away our goods causing us a big loss,” said Mr John Kimathi, a tomato vendor.
STOP PAYING TAXES
The traders have vowed to stop paying taxes to the county government until the system is repaired.
Ms Jane Gathoni, a cabbage vendor from the neighbouring Embu County, said the situation is keeping off potential buyers from the market. The market frequently floods with sewage.
Ms Gathoni also said that during rainy seasons, the section of the market gets flooded with water due to poor drainage. She urged the county government to fix the problem.
Karingani MCA Godfrey Murithi urged the traders to remain calm and give the county government time to sort out the mess.
He gave three of the traders who had lost all their belongings Sh3,000 each.
He also asked the traders to operate from outside the market until the problem is solved.
The traders have also expressed fears of a possible outbreak of diseases due to the dirty working environment.
“Many of us frequently suffer from stomach upsets and we believe this is because of the dirty working environment,” said Ms Lucy Muthoni.
Meanwhile, a permanent solution is expected after construction of a Sh1 billion sewerage system by the national government.
According to Chuka/Igambang’ombe MP Patrick Munene, work is set to start soon.