A Sh. 500 million World Bank funded sewage treatment plant project at Sabaki area in Malindi town, Kilifi County is facing head winds after environmental conservationists raised concerns over its safety to the environment.

Those opposed to the project said that they were not consulted and that they fear the waste from the plant will be released into the River Sabaki hence causing pollution.

Led by Dominic Kiplagat Kemei, the chairman of Hippo Camp organization that takes care of hippopotamus population at the River Sabaki estuary, the group now wants the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report to be made public to allay fears of pollution that will be detrimental to conservation work.

“There is a new project coming in this area and as a conservation community, we are concerned because we did not get the EIA on the sewage plant and we are scared all the excess waste will be put in the river and pollute it,” he said.

He added that very few people were consulted and the project is shrouded in secrecy.

“I am seeing waste being released to the river and we are asking the government to create a lab to test the water PH before it is released so that the river is not polluted. We are using wells and we are afraid the wells will be polluted,” he said.

Malindi town and its environs does not have a proper sewage system which makes waste management a headache to residents. Parts of the town are also below sea level hence making sewage waste management a problem.

The Malindi Water and Sewerage Company (MAWASCO) secured the 80 acre piece of land near the River Sabaki to construct a sewage plant but the project had stalled over the years due to lack of funds and community concerns.

The Managing Director of MAWASCO Gerald Mwambire said that his firm secured a Sh. 500 million partly loan and grant from the World Bank and that all protocols were followed including involving the community around the project and approvals by line government agencies.

The Faecal Sludge Treatment Facility will be the first of its kind in Malindi with Mwambire saying that it will be connected to an 80 kilometer sewer line.

“Malindi doesn’t have a single sewer line and the disposal of waste has been a very huge challenge and we felt that we must unlock sanitation so that we can give people some dignity,” he said.

He added that the plant will also add value by converting the solid waste into bricks for cooking.

“We had a lot of public engagement and we took part of the community team to go and see such a plant in Naivasha. We got all the licenses from relevant government agencies,” he said.

“We also want to integrate the faecal matter with coconut husks to create bricks for cooking. It will create jobs and will be ready in April next year,” he added.

To ensure proper collection of waste, Mwambire said that his firm is in the process of constructing community sewer tanks where the waste will be pooled together and collected to the main plant at Sabaki.

“We are also working on the downstream to have proper collection of waste. The county government should come up with a bill to enforce proper line toilets and in this we are going to have community sewer systems such that each estate will have a central sewer tank where the waste will be collected and taken to the mother plant at Sabaki,” he said.

By Treeza Auma

Treeza Auma is a Digital Content Producer and founder of https://www.ktmn.co.ke KTMN She is also Television journalist at Kenya News Agency and Leadership Accelerator at Women in News.

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