“In order to attempt the impossible, one must attempt the absurd.”- Miguel de Cervantes (1547-1616)
Starting at the ridged peaks along the Great Rift valley, Ngong Hills is a river that snakes it’s way through the capital city of Kenya, Nairobi, all through to the beautiful coastal region of Malindi, it’s end point, is the Athi River. All through its course, the river changes its name from Nairobi River to Athi River to the Galana River and finally joining the vast Indian Ocean as The Sabaki River.
Walking with a goal and purpose to showcase the effects of human activities to the environment and protect wild animal species has been trend that has picked up over time. From the Late Micheal Werikhe otherwise known as the Rhino Man to Jim Justus Nyamu who has being walking to remind the world that Ivory Belongs to Elephants since February 2013. The Global March for Elephants and Rhinos held across the globe has highlighted the importance of these species on earth and why we need them. Recently, 150 people representing 6 communities in Northern Kenya living along River Ewauso Nyiro walked a 240km stretch for 5 days to raise awareness on the river importance to the people and the wildlife. It also highlighted how upstream activities are affecting the people living downstream.
In December of this year, The Explorer’s Club of Kenya, a club founded by National Geographic Explorer, Jude Alberto Borges, will undertake a 7 day expedition walk along the Athi River basin. Why? You ask? The river is facing pollution all across the channel from both industrial and domestic waste. Kibiku Forest and Ngong Hills, sources of the river, are undergoing major deforestation. We know the importance of forests as being major water catchment areas which act as ‘sponges’ for the rivers, streams and underground water.
These are challenges happening at the upstream level that are affecting the river as it heads downstream. The waste that is carried through by the river has significant negative effect to marine life, terrestrial life and even our own human life.
Rivers are a source of livelihood for communities living in close proximity. Other than being a clean source of drinking water, they can provide food rich in protein in abundance. When we protect the flow of clean water from the upper level, we ensure issues such as hunger and lack of water do not prevail, especially, for less privileged citizens who live downstream. Yes, we can do more clean-up activities along the river but this will only solve the problem for a short period of time. When stringent measures are put up to ensure people, especially, those living along or near river banks in the urban areas, do not use rivers as free dumping sites for toxic and human waste.
You can be a part of this expedition by either participating, donating or choosing to sponsor this expedition along The Athi River [see poster below for details]. Help spread awareness on the negative human impact affecting the river, what is being done and what can be done to ensure its sustainability.
Join the campaign on social media #AthiExpedition. You can tweet, Facebook, Instagram, and/or write/blog about it. Spread the word