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Sonko’s New Year gift to city residents – PHOTOS

The problems faced by Nairobians in 2017 ranging from garbage to hawkers, poor drainage and uncontrolled sewerage have come back even stronger in the new year.

The capital city is now choking with heaps of garbage left unattended since the start of the festivities, emitting pungent smell and posing a health hazard to residents.

Just before the roundabout connecting Haile Selassie Avenue and Landhies Road and opposite Muthurwa Market lies a heap of garbage that has been an eyesore for the past week.

Hawkers and other small scale traders go about their business along the avenue oblivious of the health risks they are exposing themselves and their customers to.

James Muriuki, a hawker, at Machakos Country Bus Station. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU
James Muriuki, a hawker, at Machakos Country Bus Station. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU


Down the road heading to the famous Gikomba Market, the situation is more deplorable with handcart pullers, motorists and traders forced to wade through murky roads full of stretches of mud mixed with stagnant water.

As you head deeper into the market, street children can be seen rummaging through heaps of garbage next to the bridge separating areas around Machakos Country Bus and Gikomba Market.

At the same place, small scale traders are going on with their businesses as if nothing is amiss in the area even as motorists splash mud and dirty water to unsuspecting pedestrians and customers buying from the businessmen and women.

James Muriuki is such trader selling bags and shoes just centimeters from the garbage. He says that the garbage has not been cleared since the festive season.

“We are used to the garbage now. The county has been clearing it at least once a week but it has not done so since the turn of the year but we hope they will clear it,” Mr Muriuki said.

The situation was exacerbated by the showers that were experienced in the city two days ago with more expected making the future look bleak.

Uncollected garbage at Dubois lane in the city centre. PHOTO | ANTHONY OMUYA
Uncollected garbage at Dubois lane in the city centre. PHOTO | ANTHONY OMUYA


Nairobi River is also feeling the pinch of neglect from the country with garbage ranging from damaged fish baskets, dead dogs, sewerage discharge, broken bottles, feacal matter and rotten fruits choking the river.

Running sewerage line from Muthurwa Market and Machakos Country Bus can be seen emptying its contents into the river as a group of street boys sniff their glues with legs resting on the water looking unperturbed by the sight of the effluent.

A group of traders are also shouting their voices sore as they beckon passers-by to their makeshift stalls and racks to buy from them.

Just opposite at the banks of the river, some eateries hand delicately above the sewerage line with customers teeming in and out of the eateries with toothpick in the mouth not knowing they might be eating their way slowly to death.

Mama Abi, a trader selling household items next to the river at the Gikomba section, knows the risks posed by the polluted river but says that she has nowhere to sell her wares and that she has no power to force action from City Hall.


“I have fallen sick several times because of the foul smell coming from the river until I am now used to it. I have never seen anyone from the county cleaning the river,” she says.

A section of the Nairobi River next to Machakos Country Bus Station. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU
A section of the Nairobi River next to Machakos Country Bus Station. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU

She blames traders, especially those from hotels and eateries around the city, of choking the river with waste illegally being dumped at night.

Governor Mike Sonko has also blamed hotels in the county for the illegal dumping last year and this year, after posting that he had returned to work, fired a salvo at cartels who are sabotaging his administration’s efforts at garbage clean-up.

“Sad that our clean-up campaign is being sabotaged by cartels. We’re dismantling the illegal, parallel garbage collecting operation. Anyone found soliciting the services of these vicious cartels may risk having their business licenses revoked,” he said on January 2.

From the roundabout along Hail Selassie Avenue just after Jesus is Alive Ministries down up to Muthurwa Market hawkers have returned taking over half of the road spreading their wares as early as 9am.

This is despite the directive by Governor Sonko to only allow them to operate only from 2pm and incessant pledge to move them from the Central Business District to the backstreets of the city.

The situation is so dire that vehicles can only use a single lane and not two that the avenue supports along the stretches without the hawkers.

Traffic unruliness is also back. Despite the elimination of double parking and picking up of passengers at undesignated spots, the congestion at Railways terminus is getting out of hand with some vehicles forced to disobey traffic rules to leave the stage after picking passengers.