• May 23, 2024
  • Last Update May 23, 2024 12:57 AM
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Heavy rains exposes Migori Town’s poor sanitation

Heavy rains exposes Migori Town’s poor sanitation


Monday, April 22, 2024

KNA by George Agimba

Mr John Weda cautiously walks to his work place, twitching his nose as he tries to block a scotching smelly air blowing into his face.

His motion along a tarmacked back street road in Migori town is occasionally halted; else he steps on the murky smelly garbage strewn all over along the narrow road.

His Monday Morning journey to work is no different from other days, punched by a distressing environment occasioned by mounds of putrid garbage dumps and smelly sewer water, flowing freely into River Migori from business joints and Estates within the vicinity.

Worsening the situation is the heavy rains pounding the town and the entire region in the past days that have allowed an illegal human activity of releasing raw sewer into river Migori at night.

Reports have been trending around that some big hotels have been emptying their overflowing sock pits on open grounds late into the night and especially during rainy seasons to cut costs of treating and draining their sock pits.

Weda says the idea behind flashing raw sewer at night and when rains are sweeping is to allow the water run-offs to clean trenches of the wastes and hide the whole business from the eyes of the local government authorities.

But even with that in mind, the effects of the night released sewer still remains in the morning to attract the attention of wananchi and indicate where they came from. Many of those releasing sewer can be easily traced but nobody is bothered to take action, explains Weda.

He calls for the immediate arrest of the culprits, stressing that the authority within the local County government of Migori must urgently plan and build a well working sewer system in order to address the run-away bad sanitation situation within and around the town.

Migori town, the largest urban centre within the County, serves as an important link between Kenya and Tanzania. And its cosmopolitan nature has made it to be among the fastest growing towns in Kenya and most viable commercial centre in the country.

According to the 2009 census, the population of the then municipal council of Migori stood at 29,825 but to date statisticians puts the population within the town to over 100,000 people.

With that huge number of human beings concentrated in one region, there are a number of basic services that are critical for the survival of such population, one of which is availability of good systems to realise high degree of sanitation for the town dwellers.

An urban set up of this kind will also require good infrastructure, for instance housing, good roads, high-class water system, lighting system and first-rate hospitality services from hotels and restaurants.

Unfortunately, one of the cogs that is critical for aligning a particular region or centre with good sanitation – the sewerage system – has been lacking within the town, thereby exposing the lives of the town dwellers to serious health dangers.

In the past years, the town has been experiencing recurring outbreaks of waterborne disease despite its speedy growth to urban status.

“We have been experiencing bouts of cholera, dysentery and other waterborne diseases due to poor systems in disposal of waste matters, especially the human fecal matters,” says a town dweller, Peter Gwengi.

Save for the Catholic Church run Ombo Mission hospital’s sewerage treatment pond, serving the facility only, the rest of the town’s soft waste matters are emptied in River Migori that snakes its way through the town centre to Lake Victoria.

Currently the town depends on poorly constructed pit latrines that dots the towns to dispose of human waste matters, but whose contents end up being discharged into river Migori during rainy seasons when they overflow.

“We have over 50 hotels and 20 learning institutions within this town but all of which have no proper systems of disposing of waste matters and, the unfortunate thing here is that all their wastes are directed to the river,” rues Mrs Jane Kwamboka, another town dweller and popular business woman.

However, the Chairman of Migori Town and who also chairs the umbrella Committee of all urban centres within the region, Mr Robert Mandela, confirms of an elaborate programme to build a web of sewer system that would see sanitation status of the town elevated by the end of year 2030.

The programme will be done in partnership with the World Bank if all goes well, he told KNA during an interview recently, but would not specify the exact date when the project will start.

Statistics availed from the local bureau indicate that a large volume of soft waste matters from homes and business institutions are being discharged as run-offs on open grounds, exposing the town to foul smell all the times.

A visitor visiting the town for the first time will be surprised to do’ hop-step and jump’ exercise over numerous rivulets of raw sewer webbed in many parts of the town and chocking his or her lungs with bad smells.

Even though the town enjoys piped water services, there has been a problem of raw sewer mixing with clean water after seepage of sewer through broken water pipes.

A survey conducted within the town has also revealed that many homes and business premises bordering River Migori have been discharging their raw wastes into the river, leaving it highly polluted for direct water users on the lower parts.

Lack of working sewerage network in the town has left the town seriously dwarfed in terms of good sanitation and all blames have been heaped on the county government that has been accused of being inept in offering good services to address biting low sanitation in the town.

Courtesy; KNA

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