Nairobi’s trade capital where food and sewage smell mix
It is a busy day on Eastleigh’s Second Avenue in Section One and vendors are displaying their fruits and snacks on the roadside.
Beneath their stands is raw sewage making its way to the road. The stench can be smelt from a distance.
Unaware of the health danger they are exposed to, some of the traders are preparing food, including chapati, right next to the hole discharging waste water running for over a 300-metre stretch.
Ms Faith Mumbi, who sells vegetables, says she is used to the smell although the sewage is an eyesore.
“This is where we spend most of our time during the day to earn a living — I know it might be risky but we don’t have an alternative,” said Ms Mumbi.
According to Dr Ali Mamo, who operates a clinic in the area, this has been the situation for almost eight months this year and it has been recurring for the past five years.
The situation is worse during the rainy season as the water is discharged and floods the doorsteps of almost all buildings.
“There are (eateries), bakeries, clinics, butcheries and fruit vendors who are doing their businesses in this environment,” he said. “It poses a great health danger considering the big population here.”
During the rainy season, the medic said, not only are businesses affected but also residential houses in the area.
“This is raw sewage, and the situation has been like this since 2016. This is an absolute health hazard not only to the young children but the general populace.”
He added that efforts to seek help from the county government had been futile as they always get varied answers.
“We’ve contacted the Nairobi Water and Sewerage Company and no action has been taken so far,” Dr Mamo said.
Traders said officials from the water firm have toured the area and the latest visit was Monday.
A few metres from the spot is another sewage discharge in the middle on the road. Drivers using the route have to swerve to avoid getting into the pool of waste water.
Mr Joseph Chege, who runs an eatery, blames the contractor who built the road for tampering with the sewer system.
“The problem began when the road was constructed and it looks like no authority is willing to resolve the problem,” said Mr Chege.
Residents now fear that there might be an outbreak of diseases due to the poor sanitation in the area.