Wednesday, July 27, 2011

An invitation to experience garbage burning....

I would like to invite every NEMA representative who can make it even from Nairobi, the Municipal Council's Environment department and the Public Health one, too, to my place at a time when garbage is being burned in the neighbourhood. This, so that they will experience first hand the consequences of their inactivity in stopping this disgusting practice.

It would also help, if they, in the meantime, try and imagine what it is like for the residents of parts of our estate who have to on a daily basis, inhale this acrid smoke with minimum of ventilation in our houses and when some of us are suffering from colds and horrible bronchitis like coughs, too. Maybe, we should take the 3 mentioned above outfits to task, officially, for letting our complaints fall on deaf and uncaring ears.

Oh, but I forgot - that our Municipal Council has scant regard for the rule of law or respect for it and it seems that NEMA is also following in it's lawless footsteps.

Despite having talked to umpteen numbers of NEMA officials both in their Nairobi head office and locally, NOTHING is being done about the issue and the garbage burners in our midst are insolently doing this every single day anytime of the day or night! Of late, it's been happening during the lunch hour.

So, could you all please, accept my invitation to experience what it feels like to inhale garbage burning right outside your living quarters? And it will be a special 'treat' if some of you are suffering from a bout of cold, 'flu and coughs, too! Let's see how you like it. Not to mention the muck that will dirty the house/s just after you've cleaned up.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Re: Burning garbage... and the forthcoming ASK Showground racket

Since, my email of yesterday and my talk on the phone with Mr. Wemali, I've had very little encouraging news to report regarding NEMA's action on this matter.

In fact, when I could not get either Mr. Wemali or Mr. Bakari Mangale to take action on the matter, I was compelled to call NEMA's head office in Nairobi. I was finally put through to a Mr. Reagan Awino who in turn gave me the Provincial Director's cell phone number and email address. When I called him, I found that he was on leave but, he smsed me a Mr. Shimba's number.

The final outcome of all these calls was that, nothing could be done today till Mr. Shimba consults with Mr. Bakari tomorrow. In fact, Mr. Shimba did scant little when I had called him the first time earlier in the afternoon, it seems. It was when, I called him again around sunset when clouds of smoke started emanating from the same plot and enveloping the whole area, that I was told that we in this neighbourhood  would have to spend another night inhaling this obnoxious air. I was and am thoroughly disgusted with the way NEMA works..... or rather it does not, in fact. My parting sentence to Mr. Shimba was that I would pass out IF NEMA would do it's work effectively and promptly hung up!

Btw, I think I know what might have miffed Mr. Shimba off. When I requested that they (NEMA), should also, while there's ample time, to look into the forthcoming ASK Show in August and the racket that the residents of Nyali and part of the Island of Mombasa are unwillingly treated to every year. This year, it will also be Ramadhan, then. He was not in the least sympathetic and told me that they have every right to do this since it's a National event. Doesn't matter that there is a NEMA law against noise which says that it should not be heard beyond a distance of 30 metres. This ASK Showground racket is heard for kilometres around!

I have now requested some other people to take up this challenge and I hope and pray that they will be more successful and we, in this neighbourhood, will not have to inhale muck which is highly dangerous to our health.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Burning garbage...

As I write this, most of our estate is enveloped in smoke since 7.15 pm and it is still going on!

I have tried calling Mr. Ben Wemali of NEMA, and when he finally answered, I was told that they are going to do something about it tomorrow. So, till then we spend most of tonight inhaling acrid smoke.

NEMA had, we thought, put a stop to this regular practice last year, but, it would seem that the owner of the plot has gone back to burning what his people dump in that empty plot next to our estate. And since, I took pictures of what they do in the daytime, last year and 'shared' them with the media among others, he/she has taken to setting fire to the collected garbage under cover of darkness.

Of course, our useless Council is also to blame since they do not collect garbage on a regular basis and Mombasa has now got itself the reputation of being one of the dirtiest and stinking 'cities' in the entire country! Starting from the Airport (imagine this from the tourist point of view), as we cross the Makupa Causeway, among the first things that one notices is the traffic chaos, and then a stench assailing our olfactory senses. This comes courtesy of Kibarani.

Heading further afield into town or after crossing the Nyali bridge, people encounter another 'interim' dump site this time courtesy of our Council, on the Mombasa/Malindi road. Again, there is also the chaotic traffic which is also highly noisy.

I'm sure our foreign  visitors think that this place looks like a proper banana republic of their imagination. Where anything goes and no applicable law is apparent to them.

If our officialdom has no care about the residents and the kind of lives they are compelled to live, shouldn't they at least be thinking of the fact that Coast Province, in particular Mombasa is a great tourist attraction? And therefore, clean it up physically and also it's act?

I am wondering if NEMA and it's representative in the form of Mr. Ben Wemali will keep his promise of dealing with the latest environmental 'enemy', that I have reported. They should also inform the public on how to deal with uncollected garbage without setting it on fire.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Living conditions of Kenyans

A couple of weekends ago, Mwenda Njoka wrote a comment in the Weekend Star which really hit the nail on the proverbial head regarding residential areas and their deliberate and insensitive downgrading by our various Local Authorities all over the country, though his comments were only dealing with Nairobi and environs.

Unfortunately, this 'disease' of converting residential areas into commercial ones is an on going exercise by ALL local authorities countrywide. This results in the following...

1.    There are no quiet and peaceful areas anymore anywhere. Since commercializing an area means that everything and anything can and is allowed to sprout in the name of commerce in the middle of residential areas.

2.    This means that the infrastructure leading to residential areas, like roads, which were never meant for heavy commercial traffic, suffer the results of this. We get awful pot-holes which the road maintenance 'authorities' are very averse to fixing as soon as they are messed up.

3.    There is no regulation on the noise levels created by all of the above since everybody uses these so-called residential areas for everything under the sun. For example, tuk tuks and matatus and even some private cars, play loud and earsplitting levels of music at all hours of the day and night. Heavy commercial vehicles encroach and rev with resultant exhaust fumes pervading our houses nearly all the time.

4.    The mushrooming of sky scrapper buildings without any specific planning everywhere means that huge trucks carrying building materials are continuously plying our 'delicate' side roads degrading them. This also means, due to no planning, that these buildings block the light and air, etc., of others next to them. One would think that our town planners would make sure that things are planned in such a way in this day of environmental awareness that people can use the maximum of natural light and if structures are prefabricated, these heavy commercial vehicles supplying building materials would be to a minimum. Not to mention that houses, etc., would be more cost effective for the builder and the buyer, as well as environment friendly. But, do our policy makers even give a moments thought to such issues?

5.    We need lots of green open spaces for various reasons among which are places for children to play. Most of our residential areas and estates have none. Why?

6.    Instead, we have livestock sprinkled all over town and residential areas causing terrible traffic jams and questionable health issues.

7.    There is no enforcement of the amount of noise that can be allowed at anytime anywhere, including residential areas. Therefore, when the average Kenyan goes home expecting peace and quiet and to be able to relax, there is no such thing, as s/he is inundated by noise, air-pollution, etc. Even the children who need this peace and quiet more than anybody else to study, find none. And those are our future. Despite there being laws regarding noise and air pollution, NEMA rarely enforces this, even after such things are reported to them. Why?

8.    Since roads are not maintained and upgraded, all road users; yes, even pedestrians (who are in the majority), suffer the consequences, especially during the rainy season. When, we suffer some injury or damage to our person and vehicles, our road maintenance 'authorities' are never taken to task by being sued for damages. In this day of unbelievable expenses and despite paying road and fuel levy, very few roads are fixed or maintained. If anybody wants examples, please, contact me and I will show them 'live' examples. As I've mentioned countless times previously, Coast Province has a 'shortage' of any new roads built since independence and even the ones that are still there are not maintained in a timely manner. Only up-country roads are made and maintained. Why? We urgently need new roads down here, too, since Mombasa has been given a 'city' status ages ago, but, it is only in name. We also pay taxes, remember, by the millions every single day via road and fuel levy. Use it to give us better roads, please.