Since the beginning of November, concerned citizens have been sharing images of pollution and sewage leakage in Korogocho, a slum outside Nairobi, Kenya’s capital. Residents say that the problem of filth and detritus in their neighbourhood has persisted for at least 15 years, impacting local populations and nearby buildings, including a hospital and school. The online campaign to draw attention to this mess has evolved to call attention to widespread problems with pollution, sanitation and government neglect in Nairobi’s slums.
Korogocho is one of the largest slums on the outskirts of Nairobi. Between 150,000 and 200,000 people are packed into 1.5 square kilometres – often in houses made of mud, cinder blocks and corrugated iron. In Swahili, Korogocho means “crowded shoulder-to-shoulder”.
Korogocho struggles with serious drainage problems, which causes sewage to leak onto the streets. This is in addition to piles of garbage and litter which line the neighbourhood. Many residents of Nairobi’s slums lack running water, toilets and proper solid waste disposal systems. Without proper sanitation services or hygiene infrastructure, people in the slum are forced to depend on pit latrines or so-called “flying toilets”, when people dispose of waste in plastic bags. Waste runs into rivers, in turn creating water scarcity.
On November 2, Nairobi resident Hanifa Safia posted images of the sewage on the streets of Korogocho on Twitter, pledging to continue sharing for 30 days, or until local authorities promised to fix the problem.
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