In drought stricken Kenya, Nairobi residents clean polluted dam for factory use
In drought stricken Kenya, Nairobi residents clean polluted dam for factory use.
The Nairobi dam has been the capital’s spare water reservoir in times of drought since the 1950s, but not a drop of it is usable now, as a result of heavy pollution.
“The dam is situated on the edges of Kibera, yet we cannot even use it for our car wash businesses,” said Mathew Mbuvi who lives in the sprawling Nairobi slum.
Ultimately, the aim of the recycling project will be to clean the dam’s water enough so it can be used by the slum’s laundries, public toilets, car washes, and other businesses.
Businesses have been forced to hire private companies to supply them with supplemental water, and some have sunk boreholes on their property in an effort to find underground water supplies.
Drought has pushed up the price of water and a 20 liter drum now costs 50 Kenyan shillings (about 50 cents), compared with 10 Kenyan shillings (10 cents) last year.
The Nairobi dam, if improved, could supply some 98,000 cubic meters of the city’s demand, according to Leah Tsuma, the chief executive officer for the Agency for Science and Technology Information Communication, the Kenyan company building the recycling plant in Kibera.
Mbuvi said he and others were being contracted to collect trash as part of the recycling process.
At weekends, the dam was a popular recreation spot where people went to unwind, he said.
“Life was good,” he said.