Kenya: West Pokot Residents Protest Over Poor Drainage Systems

Residents of Makutano and Kapenguria towns in West Pokot County are up in arms over the poor drainage system in the area, which they said was a threat to their health.

Residents noted that dirty water from hotels and restaurants flows downstream to the Tanga Tanga water point and the Kotoruk river where they get water for drinking and domestic use.

This, they lamented, is exposing them to the risk of waterborne diseases such as cholera, dysentery, typhoid and diarrhoea.

During heavy rains, they said, water pours into residential areas, businesses and nearby schools, making them incur big losses in damaged property and repair costs.

Led by Michael Luke Marianyura, the angry residents called on public health officials to intervene.

Waste water, he said, was draining into wells and rivers, their sources of drinking water.

Dirty water

"Our lives are in danger and we may have an outbreak of diseases if this is not rectified immediately," Mr Marianyura told the Nation.

The situation also affects more than 1,500 students at Mnagei Mixed Secondary School and Makutano Primary School, residents said.

"Our children play here and they are being affected by dirty water. Our livestock drink the same water yet we eat the meat from the animals. Things are bad," he said.

He said some people have built on sewer lines and diverted waste water into rivers but no action has been taken against them.

Another resident, Mary Naliaka, called on the county government to act on the problem, which she said had persisted for as long as she could remember.

Ms Naliaka said that during this dry season, locals only depend on water from nearby streams for domestic and commercial use and that water is now unhygienic.

Reacting to the protests, West Pokot Governor John Lonyangapuo assured residents that the county is setting up sewerage systems an improving drainage systems in the area.

But he said the problem also lay squarely with landlords.

"The biggest problem is that landlords do not have soak pits yet they are essential in managing sewage," the governor said.

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