The environment like life itself will never coast along to our development activities. The environment like life shapes itself to what we habitually do in and to it. In the previous article on ‘Do We Have to Wait for Rainfall to Expose the Clogged Water Ways in Our Cities?’ we strongly talked on the misuse of our drainage systems in our cities. In this article we will try to explain how we the citizens have contributed to lack of progress in drainage systems management?
We pointed out In the previous article that it is possible to address the issue of water scarcity in Kenya through the harvesting of storm water. Properly constructed separate storm water and waste water systems makes it easy and secure to harvest water, because the sewage is transported in a closed system directly to the treatment plant and cannot overflow into the environment. However, we do not have this luxury of a having storm water separated from waste water because Kenya mainly has combined sewer systems in most cities. Most drainage systems were constructed in 1960s( not sure of the years though) and even lack capacity to be managed well due to the rapid population growth. At the moment having a combined sewer system technology should provide a high level of hygiene and comfort if managed well. But we can hardly depend on the management to offer high level of hygiene and comfort because the public lacks goodwill to maintain the systems and are quick to put blames on the government.
I am sick of Kenyan’s bashing the government for lack of proper management or improvement of our infrastructure all the time. Before you begin forming a troll in your head for this blog, think about this; how many times have you as an individual littered the streets with garbage? Remember that time when you drunk that cold ice Dasani water and threw the plastic bottle out of the window of your car or that Matatu? Remember when you bought roasted peanuts and threw the plastic pack away after snacking on your peanuts? Remember when you were working in that company and knew very well that they had not treated the wastewater before releasing it to the sewer, yet you didn’t report this?….
So, you didn’t expect the sewer to overflow on slightest blockage? Even simple paper bags can choke the system! The way I see it, we would rather see the big picture of how the government has failed us. But guess what? You too failed us! Not only did you fail your country but your environment and yourself as well. The lack of self-discipline is what makes our systems fail the most. Excellence is not always on the big details but rather the small little things are what matter the most.
If we cannot be trusted with what we already have, how can we be trusted with something better? Why do we lack the good will to live well? We have formed breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Our disgusting drainages especially in informal settlement has led to health hazards such as typhoid, and cholera and related diseases such as malaria. We need to change the same way we want our government to change. We need to pay attention to details. We need to avoid the floods during the rainy days and yes we also need to hold the government accountable for the management drainage systems (I didn’t say that the government has done any good in the sanitation area. They have failed us too.)
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.