Meru County residents oppose billion-shilling sewage treatment plant project

Residents of Rwanyange village in Imenti North constituency, Meru County, continue to oppose the ongoing KES 1 billion sewage treatment plant project in the area, saying that they have not been involved in the decision-making process.

They accused the Upper Tana Water Works Development Agency of targeting 40 acres of their land to implement the project without following due process. The project has been ongoing for five years and has faced numerous opposition from residents, including a police involvement, and has spent over KES 500 million.

The residents argue that there was no proper public participation, and the plant will cause environmental damage and pollute land and water as the site is a water catchment area surrounded by two rivers. They fear that their health and farming livelihoods will be affected, especially the French bean farmers, whose main cash crop might be lost due to the sewage plant.

The Rwanyange Sewage plant will treat 8,000 cubic meters of wastewater per day, benefiting over 196,000 residents from Meru town who use alternatives such as pit latrines and septic tanks. It will also develop a 52km sewage treatment network from the town. According to the officers from Upper Tana Water Works, relevant environmental studies have been undertaken, and the chances of overflow or any contamination are non-existent. They urged farmers to embrace the project, which will produce fertilizer and clean water for local farmers to boost production and other developments in the area.

“If this sewage will be located here, our lands will lose value as while in other places are gaining value”, said Nelson Mutuma a resident.

Imenti North MP Rahim Dawood said he would hire an independent person to assess the area’s suitability for the plant and give farmers feedback. He added that he would follow up on the compensation process for those whose lands were not compensated. Dawood also said that his office would sponsor some residents to the Nyeri Sewage Plant to see how the plant would look and the benefits of the fertilizers produced before making a decision on the project.

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