Water pollution in a Riparian community: the case of River Athi in Makueni County, Kenya



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The aim of this study was to determine the effects of water pollution on riparian community alongRiver Athi in Makueni County. Specific objectives included; documenting the causes of pollution ofthe River Athi in Kathonzweni sub County, to access and establish the health effects resultingfrom the pollution of the River Athi in Kathonzweni district and finally to documentmeasures/interventions put in place by the government and residents in the study area to controlthe pollution of the River Athi. Data was collected using a sample of 51 households on five villagesliving along the River Athi 5 kilometer distance from the River was studied. Structuredquestionnaires, observation, and interviews were employed and the collected data was analyzedusing SPSS model and presented using tables. It was clear from the results that up-streampollution from industries and sewage was the highest River polluter having Iiani village (93%),Kikome village (62.5%), Mumbeeni village (60%), Kyase village (50%) and Kwanyaa village(33.3%) (Chi-square(X2)=1.7186). Results on the uses of River water within the five villagesrevealed that seven water uses including watering crops, washing, drinking, fishing, cooking,bathing, and brick making. Across the five villages, malaria was the commonest illness reported in Iiani village (46.7%), Kyase village (37.5%), Kwanyaa village (22.2%) and the lowest beingMumbeeni village (20%) (X2=0.0035).According to the results, contact with River water was thecommon cause of most illnesses with Kwanyaa village (55.6%) having the highest percentage ofillness caused by contact with River water. The study revealed that the residents’ measures tocontrol pollution were three that is observation of 30 m riparian reserve by farmers and developers,no disposal of refuse and pesticide cans in the River and not washing near the River by theresidents. This study can provide a basis for designing water policies aimed at rural livelihoodsecurity improvement within the County and also globally.




Journal of Applied Life Sciences International 10(3)