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Gardening

Greening the City for Sh30m

Haile Selassie Avenue
A section of Haile Selassie Avenue roundabout that has been landscaped under the Nairobi County beautification project. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU | NMG 

On a Friday morning, young men and women offload grass from a government truck while others dig up and turn the soil in Nairobi as they plant rows upon rows of flowering plants and palm trees, the latest signal of the county's determination to be green.

To beautify the city, the county government plans to spend Sh30 million this year.

Amid the gloom of a city choked with garbage and running sewage in some estates, the county officials are happy to talk about foliage.

“No area will be left behind to give Nairobi the face of the international city that it deserves. We started by concentrating on the main highways first and then we will move into the feeder roads,” Larry Wambua, the County Executive for Environment, Water, Energy and Natural Resources told BDLife.

The urban environmental movement will spread from Mombasa Road, Langa'ta Road, Jogoo Road and the populous Eastleigh estate to the iconic Uhuru Park.

Mr Wambua says they get the grass and trees from nurseries at City Park in Parklands, while the palm trees are bought at Sh50 a tree from Mombasa sellers.

“Most of the grass is from City Park where we have our own nurseries,” Mr Wambua says, adding that occasionally they buy the grass from entrepreneurs when they do not have enough.

Uhuru Highway

A section of Uhuru Highway that has been landscaped under the Nairobi County beautification project. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU | NMG

During the dry season, the plants are watered at night. Along Mombasa Road, there are water-points through tees that link them to existing underground pipes at intervals of 200 metres and which will come in handy during the dry season. They plan to install sprinklers in roundabouts to water the plants.

The county is also partnering with companies that will plant and maintain roundabout gardens. For instance, Silver Springs Hotel maintains the roundabout next to the Department of Defence while Faulu Group and Equity Bank are in charge of two others across the city.

The workers also line barbed wire along bollards to deter people from stepping on the grass or tampering with the landscaping.

“We have hired about 100 casual workers,” Mr Wambua says. The casuals get Sh600 per day.

A section of Uhuru Highway that has been

A section of Uhuru Highway that has been landscaped under the Nairobi County beautification project. PHOTO | SALATON NJAU | NMG

For landscaping, the county is working with Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT).

“We are working with the JKUAT School of Landscape Architecture. We have finished the drawings and we are going to change how the city looks like. It is a huge investment that falls under the Nairobi Regeneration programme,” Mr Wambua says.

The greening programme started in May and it is set to continue until 2022.

Previous governments have planted trees, grass and flowers while others have uprooted them and lined up stones. A few years ago, City Hall spent millions of shillings to spruce up the highways and now it is spending more.

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