Home Health Nairobi’s slum dwellers should be mindful of their surrounding

Nairobi’s slum dwellers should be mindful of their surrounding


Lavington can be described as a cool, clean and posh place. It remains every person’s dream estate, and so are other big estates like Loresho, Kileleshwa and Kilimani.

My interest, however, is not in this big beautiful estates but the surroundings neighbourhood; commonly referred to as slums.

The danger of such dirty water will cause water diseases: Photo / Courtesy
The danger of such dirty water will cause water diseases: Photo / Courtesy

For example, surrounding Lavington is the Kangemi, though not entirely a slum but you would not know the difference.

The drainage systems and sewage lines in this slums are really terrible, quite the opposite of their immediate neighborhood, despite the fact that they flow from the same area.

Sewage is basically the mixture of house hold waste which consists of waste water from kitchens, laundries, bathrooms, and human excretions.

Before flowing out to the slum, the drainage systems are hardly noticed. They are well covered and if spotted, the disposables are clean, clear and, without disturbing scent.

Staying in Kangemi and walking around the area, I could feel how terrible the surrounding is.

I always get the urge to educate residents about hygiene, or rather offer free community cleanup services.

For me, cleanliness is next to godliness and social class should never be an issue in terms of environmental safety and healthy living.

Environmental concern

The main problem here is ignorance. When certain area, for instance, has bins for dumping waste, another area; residents just dump wastes haphazardly, making the location unclean.

It is not possible to monitor how people dispose waste but it is personal initiative that matters a lot. I think residents are not taking into consideration the importance of living in a healthy surrounding.

As much as the concerned authority may not be handling the situation well, blame game will not help either.

Sometimes back, in the heart of Kangemi, where my cousin lives, there was an outbreak of malaria which left over ten children, under the age of eight, lost their lives due to delayed treatment.

The situation was later improved after health experts mobilized locals to unblock the drainage lines. Since then, cases of malaria infection has dropped significantly.

Kangemi has a river and as I was strolling, something caught my attention. I stumbled upon kids swimming and women doing laundry downstream.

Surprisingly, for the women, instead of carrying bucket to fetch water, the ladies were actually washing their garments in the river using soap. This is just not correct.


After few successive strides, I came across a small stream of sewage that was flowing non-stop into the river and downstream. I thought about the kids swimming and the women doing their laundry.

Then the health impacts of contaminated water crept in; including gastrointestinal and stomach illnesses like: nausea, vomiting, cramps and diarrhoea depending on the age groups of people affected.

And in some severe instances, death could be the end result.

Later, i discovered the sewage flows freely from the posh neighborhoods through the slums and end up in our beautiful rivers.

The blame rest entirely on those planners who decide where the drainage channels end up. We walk around the city and wonder, if at all there are stream or just sewage everywhere.

Flow of dirty and stinking water everywhere, it became crystal clear to me that all sewage lines in the city end up in a river endangering lives of people.

By Jean J. Ambunya


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