In Summary
  • Construction of high rise residential buildings seen as the answer to the housing crisis in Nairobi could pose a danger to the environment.
  • The new buildings lack appropriate sewerage systems resulting in the disposal of waste water into open drains.
  • A proposed three-year project aims to increase sewerage coverage in Nairobi to about 50 per cent in the next five years.

The construction of highrise residential buildings could be seen as the answer to the housing crisis in Nairobi, however some of them pose a danger to the environment.  This is because they lack appropriate sewerage systems resulting in the disposal of waste water into open drains.

Overloaded Sewerage Systems

Although Nairobi County government is mandated with enforcing construction laws, rogue developers continue to put up buildings in disregard of planning regulations thereby choking the already overloaded sewerage system.

Dr Robert Ayisi, Nairobi County director of health says the broken sewers pose a health hazard because spillage of waste water onto roads, houses and other places can result in disease outbreak especially when it mixes with water for domestic use.

“During the rainy seasons, some of Nairobi’s estates flood with sewage because of the overflowing open manholes.  Dumping of solid wastes in open manholes and construction of illegal buildings on sewer lines results in clogged systems which pour effluent into the streets,” he says.

Predictions are that the sewerage system will be clogged even more when the city’s population is expected to hit the 20 million mark by 2020.

Over flowing Sewerage

In other instances, the septic tanks overflow because they are too small for the flats they serve. This is common in Nairobi’s Eastlands.

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