There are children playing with sand on my dusty banks, their mother is busy lighting some fire to boil the green maize cobs, in a few hours, the glass-bottle recycling workers nearby will be trotting by to pick the boiled maize. Just on a plank ahead, there is a young boy, barely in his teenage years, smoking something rolled up in a paper.
An expectant woman, obviously in some pain is coming by with a box of trash in her hand. Without much thoughts, tosses the waste towards me. It is like I am not even there. Raging silently and surely across the low income settlements rushedly constructed on my riparian, I slither between the buildings like an invisible snake. I know their darkest secrets.
I have lived for thousands of generations, I have seen the young grow old, wither and die, I have seen your great, great grandparents get born and vanish this earth. I have served the people of Nairobi well even as I drain downstream and into the Indian Ocean. Now I am also dying, a former shell of what I used to be. In fact I am dead in parts. There aren’t any more fish swimming in me, no mud fish hidden and fertilizing their eggs in my muddy banks. The birds no longer fly by to grab the fleshy worms on me again. I have been left lonely and abandoned.
All people do is throw trash at me. There is a child seated with a despaired look on his face, I can see the hopelessness in his face. He is not perturbed by the foul smell that is emanating from my belly. The water has turned dark, acrid and poisonous even for the slightest life. Thirty years ago, I was vibrant with activity.
Women would be seen fetching water for their household chores, men would be driving their cattle for their afternoon drinks and just ahead near the lagoon, the children could be screaming and splashing in my refreshing waters. I would be proud of being so much joy and life to these creation.
Even as I move downstream, and my only job is to carry waste: too much plastic is embedded in my system, a lot of chemicals from industries, the sewage that is exuded from settlements near my banks but the saddest and scariest bit is the lifeless bodies of fetuses that I am forced to suffocate death over and over again. I am so tired of this! Please stop! I wouldn’t mind so much about the trash but taking a life? No. I feel so poisoned and toxic that I am worried for you, I am worried for your generation. Look, the amount of poisonous waste in me I so astonishing that I can’t even call myself a river again.
But you caused this on yourself, the heavy metals you have let slip into my stream, the mercury, the lead, the copper. What about the chemicals? Do you ever look into the future? I am sure many people who drink from me have already started feeling the effects. I am sure you are inflicted by cancerous infections. I am sure your children and women are dying of typhoid and cholera. The heavy metals have caused brain damage to many of your children. The plastic that is disintegrated is slowly and surely being infused into the sea animals you consume.
For the next 50 years, things will change. Life as you know it is never going to be the same.
I beseech you to look back, change your ways. Organize yourselves. Have a comprehensive waste management system. I know it is not too late to start over. Neither is it going to be an easy task. I have seen many clouts of youth groups and women rising to the occasion. Good job! It is the little efforts that matter. It can be done through reuse, reduction and recycling of plastics. Let us all join hands and return back the life we deserve. It can be and must be done to safeguard the lives of your future. I don’t know how much longer I have. If the rain comes soon, it might bring with it some life, but also more waste and pollution from the land.
I just thought to let you know this.#REDUCE #RE-USE #RECYCLE.