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How many of you have ever taken a bath at a river bank?

When I crossed a bridge on River Mkurumudzi in Kwale County, I was rudely reminded that there are many Kenyans who still bath or wash clothes at the river banks. This is not a new phenomenon, I used to do that too when I was a regular resident at our rural village.

It makes a lot of sense practically because you have to weigh between carrying a 20 litre jerrican up a stiff hill or just leisurely walk down the hill and take a bath. For men, they usually prefer the shortcut- bathing at the river bank.

However, this archaic practice should be discouraged and anyone found bathing or washing clothes on the river banks should face the law. This is because of the negative environmental impact the practice has on the water and the environment.

Remember some people even wash baby clothes with raw human waste into the river. Meanwhile, you find other people downstream also using the water for washing utensils, watering plants and quenching the thirst of their livestock.

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In fact, when I was young and growing in the village, the lumbermen who used to split timber in the forests along the river banks used to drink the stream water without any prior treatment. Now the water is highly toxic and can cause an epidemic if taken by people without any form of treatment.

Let’s us think about this matter and find a solution. What should we do to reduce pollution of our rivers? Let’s know what you think in the comments section.

Mkurumudzi river in Kwale County.

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