The Nairobi River contains garbage, dead dogs, dead cats, dead pigs, dead babies

The authorities want to clean up the Nairobi River. This river runs through the capital of Kenyan, Nairobi. Clearly people use it as a drain and chuck almost anything into it including the bodies of babies, cats and dogs.

Nairobi River. Photo: Slum TV.
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

At the beginning of the cleanup they found human foetuses and other corpses. Fourteen bodies of adults, children and foetuses have been taken out of this dead river – the only life is maggots. Clinics performing abortions throw the end product into the river. It is quite horrendous to think about it.

The story is relevant to me because it’s about cats in an indirect way, because as mentioned in the title there are the corpses of cats in this polluted river. It creates a vision of human carelessness, a relationship with the domestic cat in Nairobi which is hardly perfect and an unsustainable and sloppy attitude towards the environment which needs to stop. Note: it is tricky for a person in the West to criticise a developing country because the West has done its far share of environmental and natural world damage over centuries.

Decades ago the river was pristine, sparkling with life and abounding with fish, water beetles, dragonflies and other water borne wildlife. It’s a dream to try and clean it up because it’s not gonna happen. It’s impossible because the will is not there and the systems are not in place to prevent people using it as a drain and a sewer.

Understandably the officials are finding the task daunting. The authorities have actually promised to clean up the river in 30 days! They want to make Nairobi a green city in the sun and they are living in a fantasyland.

There is a lack of will and a lack of funds. There are so many obstacles to achieving this goal. There’s even mistrust between the various agencies which undermines the whole process as well.

330 million Kenyan shillings have been allocated to the program which includes more than cleaning up the Nairobi River. This is the equivalent of US$3.2 million. It’s not gonna be enough is it?


With great sadness, you have to refer once again to a classic problem with humanity. Humankind tends to damage the environment to the point where we actually see and feel the effects of that damage and then we react by trying to clean up our mess. It’s a reactionary way of living whereas it would be far better if humans were proactive and prevented the problem occurring in the first place. This applies to the destruction of the planet.

Obviously poverty is a driving factor. Wherever there is poverty there is a lack of systems and proper infrastructure to deal with things such as waste so it is simply chucked away in the nearest river. It’s what the developed world was doing hundreds of years ago.

It would be wonderful if the world had developed at an even speed by which I mean that all the countries were developed to the same extent. A lot of the world stresses come from the fact that countries have developed at different speeds. This is why there is a huge culture clash between immigrants from developing countries to developed countries.

More needs to be written about the domestic cats of Africa. It is not a great relationship. I’m not saying that there are not many homes where domestic cats are well cared for but by and large my impression is that cat domestication in Africa refers to community cats which are in effect stray cats wandering around the urban environment. They’re not cared for properly. They almost certainly die before their time and some end up in the Nairobi River.

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Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

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