The Impacts of Unplanned Growth of Nyalenda Informal Settlement on Environment and Public Health, Kisumu Municipality, Kenya
AJULU, .Alfred O
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The unplanned growth of Nyalenda informal settlement, in Kisumu Municipality, is rapid. Consequently, this urban dwelling faces numerous problems such as high concentration of human population that affect the environment and public.health either in the form of over-exploitation of natural resources for survival or environmental degradation through accumulation of wastes. Therefore, the objectives of this study were to: determine the environmental and public health problems associated with the unplanned growth of Nyalenda informal settlement; examine whether the unplanned growth of Nyalenda had led to bacteriological pollution of surface and ground water resources; and assess the effects of unplanned growth of Nyalenda on vegetation cover over time. The study area had approximately 11,822 households (family units averaging 5 persons each) from which a sample size of 76 household heads were interviewed. Purposive sampling was used to collect in-depth information on environmental and public health problems and vegetation cover changes over time. Water samples were randomly selected from 40 wells and 18 samples from Wigwa stream, from ih July 2008 to 22nd August 2008, for laboratory analysis to determine the level of pollution by Escherichia coli, Salmonella spp and Vibrio cholerae. Data was collected, using in-depth interviews, questionnaires, focus group discussions and observations. Quantitative data generated were analyzed using descriptive statistics of mean, range, percentages and frequencies. Qualitative data were analyzed by identifying the themes, categories and patterns, then further scrutinizing the data to determine the adequacy of information in answering the research questions. The study revealed that the most common environmental diseases in Nyalenda informal settlement mentioned by the respondents are; malaria (90%), diarrheal diseases (36%), typhoid (32%), chest complications (6%). The causes of these diseases were attributed to poor sanitation (58%) and pollution of water (36%), by the respondents. The respondents also attributed the mode of spread of these diseases, except malaria which is vector borne, to consumption of polluted water (80%). Laboratory analysis revealed that water from the wells had an average of 17 coloniesl1 00 ml of sample of Escherichia coli with a range of 0-68 coloniesl1 OOml sample. Only 12% of wells sampled had nil E. coli colonies. The average count of organisms in stream water was 6 colonies 11OOml sample, with a range of 0-14 coloniesl1 OOmlsample. The average levels of the colonies observed were above safe and recommended limits for drinking water and other uses. The results also showed that 88.9% of the stream samples were positive for Ecoli presence. Tests for Salmonella spp in water confirmed the presence of the organism in both well (20%) and stream (27.7%) samples. Vibro cholerae detection in the laboratory showed that all the samples from both the wells and the stream waters tested negative. Clearly, 76% of the respondents werein agreement that vegetation cover had deteriorated, tremendously, over time in Nya1enda and they, further, attributed this trend to human settlement (80%). The study also found out that many wetlands that supported several plant species had been drained to give way to human settlement There is need to disinfect all the water wells before embarking on "boil water" campaign, proper lining of the pit latrines and proper protection to prevent surface water from entering the wells and residents of Nyalenda should avoid use of Wigwa stream water for domestic purposes.