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UNEP Supports "World Class Vision" for Nairobi

Package Targets River Clean-Ups to Waste Management

Nairobi, 16 June 2008-A wide-ranging new initiative to assist in greening Kenya's capital city has been drawn up by the UN Environment Programme(UNEP) in cooperation with the government, the city council, donors and UN-Habitat.

Today Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director held discussions in Gigiri with Honorable Mutula Kilonzo, Minister for Nairobi Metropolitan Development, on the way forward which promises improved lives and livelihoods for millions of Kenyans.

The discussions focused on some key aspects of the plan including solid waste management; air pollution improvements; rehabilitation of the Nairobi's rivers, new thinking on the developments along the river fronts and energy generation from slaughterhouse and other organic wastes.

Full details of the package, which will support the government's Nairobi Metro 2030: A vision for a world class metropolis, are expected to be unveiled soon.

Mr Steiner and the UNEP team have already held several consultations with both the Prime Minister, the Right Honourable Raila Odinga and the Honourable John Njoroge Michuki, the Environment and Minerals Resources Minister in recent weeks which has resulted in a framework for cooperation covering Nairobi and the country as a whole.

Mr Steiner said UNEP and partners were keen to kick-start several elements of the new initiative in close consultations with the Government of Kenya.

"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. 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 said.

"The commitment and resolve of the Kenya Coalition Government now gives UNEP the impetus and opportunity to support that positive change. 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 Mr Steiner.

Some Elements of City-Wide Support

Development of an Integrated Solid Waste Management Strategy: The UN environment body, in cooperation with others including UN-Habitat, wants to assist the city council in up-dating baseline figures-as a prerequisite for implementing the waste strategy-on the levels and kinds of wastes that need to be tackled.

The data is needed in part to inform the re-location of the 30 acre Dandora dumping site which currently receives 2,000 tonnes of rubbish every day to a new 200 acre modern sanitary landfill site in Ruai.

Dandora has been pin pointed as a major health hazard for people living and working nearby and is a key pollution source into the Nairobi river.

Meanwhile, UNEP is looking to commit funding and to raise additional financial support for a master plan for managing and fast-tracking the Nairobi River Basin Project.

This will include developing a vision of how the river fronts of the City should be planned for optimal recreational and commercial use without compromising their environmental integrity.

An estimated 300 points of direct discharge of sewage, heavy metals, oils and other pollutants into the Nairobi and Ngong rivers have been identified. More points are yet to be documented along the Mathare and other rivers, but this sampling alone illustrates the magnitude of the pollution load released into the river system.

One of these sources is the Dagoretti Slaughter House that processes more than 400 animals a day.

Under the initiative wastes will instead be used to fuel a Biogas power plant, whose output has been estimated to have the potential of generating off-grid electricity sufficient for more than 1,000 homes within the immediate neighborhoods.

The Project also includes plans for the rehabilitation of the Nairobi Dam with the first element being an Environmental Impact Assessment of the proposed engineering interventions for the restoration works

UNEP has been providing secretariat support to the Nairobi Dam Trust, which is spearheading with others including the private sector the rehabilitation plans for the Nairobi Dam into a healthy and economically important water body.

Notes to Editors

UNEP and UN-Habitat released the City of Nairobi Environment Outlook on 17 April 2007 which underlined the challenges and opportunities facing the metropolitan area.

A UNEP-commissioned report "Environmental Pollution and Impacts on Public Health: Implications of the Dandora Municipal Dumping Site in Nairobi, Kenya" was unveiled on 5 October 2007

For More Information Please Contact

Nick Nuttall, UNEP Spokesperson, Office of the Executive Director, on Tel: +254 20 762 3084; Mobile: 254 733 632 755 or when traveling +41 795 965 737; E-mail: nick.nuttall@unep.org

Or Anne-France White, Associate Information Officer, on Tel: +254 20 762 3088, Mobile: + 254 728600494; E-mail: anne-france.white@unep.org




Further Resources

World Class Vision for Nairobi - Webcast

World Class Vision for Nairobi - Podcast

UNEP's Nairobi River Basin Programme

United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT)

UNEP Urban Environment Unit

UNEP Regional Office for Africa

The official website of the City of Nairobi

Africa Rubbish Tip Major Hazard to Children and the Environment


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