New UN scheme helps to clean up Kenya’s capital

Nairobi River Basin

16 June 2008 – A wide-ranging new initiative by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) aims to help the Kenyan Government deal with air pollution, waste management and the clean up of rivers in the country’s capital – and the agency’s host city – Nairobi.

The initiative, drawn up by UNEP in cooperation with the Government, the city council, donors and the Nairobi-based UN Human Settlements Programme (UN–HABITAT), will work in conjunction with the Government’s Nairobi Metro 2030: A vision for a World-Class Metropolis plan.

“We are determined, through a combination of financial, scientific and technical support to explore how best to assist in the transformation of Nairobi into a vibrant, healthy and functioning capital city in the 21st century with the lessons learnt available for other developing metropolitan areas in and outside Kenya,” said UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner.

Among other goals, UNEP aims to assist in finding a new site for the 30-acre Dandora dumping site, which currently gets 2,000 tonnes of rubbish every day, to a new 200-acre modern sanitary landfill site in Ruai. Dandora is a major health hazard for people living and working nearby and a key source of pollution into the Nairobi River.

Another source of pollution into the river is the Dagoretti Slaughter House that processes more than 400 animals a day. Under the new initiative, waste will instead be used to fuel a biogas power plant, whose output has been estimated to have the potential of generating enough off-grid electricity for more than 1,000 homes in the surrounding areas.

“UNEP, in common with Nairobi’s 4.5 million citizens, have watched with growing alarm and concern the rapid environmental deterioration of our host city as a result of persistent and emerging challenges,” Mr. Steiner said.

“The loss of these environmental assets can be reversed and indeed must be reversed as they will underpin much of Nairobi’s economic prospects over the coming years and decades,” he added.

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