20 firms join forces to save Nairobi River

Monday June 30 2014

The Nairobi River. A programme has been launched to reduce industrial pollution of the water source. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | FILE

The Nairobi River. A programme has been launched to reduce industrial pollution of the water source. PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE | FILE NATION MEDIA GROUP

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At least 20 companies have launched a multi-million-shilling programme to curb pollution in the Nairobi River Basin.

The firms are working with the National Environment Management Authority in seeking ways of reducing disposal of effluent into the crucial river source.

The agency, in collaboration with the Kenya National Cleaner Production Centre (KNCPC), has called a meeting on Tuesday to spell out measures that will ensure the Promotion of Compliance Assistance for Enterprises in Nairobi River Basin Project leads to a cleaner water source.

It is expected to save the companies up to Sh430 million per year.


The firms include Athi River Mining, Kenya Meat Commission, Mombasa Cement, East African Portland Cement Company, British American Tobacco and East African Breweries Limited. Bamburi Cement, Kapa Oil Refineries, Leather Industries of Kenya and Savanna Cement are also part of the programme.

KNCPC director Jane Nyakang’o said the initiative sought to reduce industrial pollution of Nairobi River, “which threatens to rise”.

“We hope companies will end up adopting cleaner production strategies. We also hope they will put in place measures that help them reduce wastage,” Ms Nyakang’o said.

The project seeks to help targeted factories to comply with national environmental standards spelt out by Nema instead of waiting for the agency to crack down on them.

Experts are set to visit factories within the Nairobi River Basin to assess their contribution to pollution.

The teams will sample the effluent from the factories for analysis to establish the pollution levels.


Assessments at individual firms will be conducted to identify options that can help minimise waste and ensure resource efficiency.

The project comes after a related one, the Nairobi River Basin Programme Phase III, revealed that no consistent environmental monitoring had taken place in all the rivers under the Nairobi River Basin between 1969 and 2008.

“Analysis of past work on the Nairobi River Basin shows that there is serious lack of documented information on the nature and ecological performance of biodiversity within the basin,” says a report on the project.

The latest project is similar to the ongoing Sh92 million World Bank-funded programme that has reduced pollution in the Lake Victoria Basin.

It involves 40 companies on the Kenyan side of the Lake Victoria Basin. They have adopted a resource efficient and cleaner production programme.

They recycle their waste water, leaving the environment clean.

Through these interventions, companies have reduced their consumption of resources — mainly raw materials, water and energy — by up to 50 per cent.