President Uhuru Kenyatta has ordered the removal of Makupa Causeway in Kibarani to protect Mombasa island status.
Speaking in Mombasa on Monday, Mombasa Governor Hassan Joho said Mr Kenyatta ordered the demolition of the causeway to pave way for the construction of a bridge, which would protect the town’s status.
The governor said the president, who is concerned over the island status of the tourism hub, wants to protect the city from losing its ecosystem due to sea reclamation.
”There shall be a bridge connecting the island to the mainland. I was glad when the president made an announcement on Kibarani because land had been grabbed around here but we are looking at means that will not affect the ecological system of this area,” Mr Joho said.
The governor also ordered multibillion-shilling properties encroaching the sea at Kibarani to be brought down.
Last year, UN warned Kenya that the tourism hub would soon cease to be an island following the wanton reclamation of the Indian Ocean at Makupa Causeway by private players.
NLC chairman Muhammad Swazuri also noted then that massive sea reclamation was turning Mombasa into a peninsula.
The causeway between Tudor and Port Reitz creeks was built in 1920s with environmental surveys showing it has had a negative impact on marine life at both creeks.
The Kibarani dumpsite had made matters worse as toxic waste, including heavy metals, seep into the ocean, resulting in drying up of mangrove trees and death of fish.
In April last year, Governor Hassan Joho ordered the shutdown of the dumpsite and subsequent removal of the garbage that was choking up the sea.
The colonial dumpsite, which is located along the Mombasa-Nairobi Highway on one of the tourism hub’s entry/exit points, had been an eyesore due to the garbage pileup in the area.
The dumpsite was officially shut down in June, and reclamation and beautification is going on to turn the area into a recreational park.
The Makupa Causeway is one of three road links between the island and the mainland — the other two being Nyali Bridge and Kipevu Causeway.
In July last year, President Kenyatta revoked the allocation of the Kibarani dumpsite land after National Land Commission (NLC) announced that about 80 acres were in private hands.
According to the county government, the land was grabbed about 30 years ago, with around 10 people allocated the parcel.
Water cannot flow freely and fish cannot breed as they suffocate from the garbage that had been dumped into the sea.
“The fish is safe. In fact there is more fish here you go ask the fishermen,” the governor insisted.
According to environmental experts and land surveyors, the buildings that had encroached into sea land in Kibarani are also threatening Mombasa island’s status.
Mr Joho said all the grabbed land in Kibarani shall be repossessed by the county government.
”We will remove all the waste that had been dumped here to reclaim, we are working with National Environment Management Authority, ministries of Transport and Infrastructure and Environment to achieve that,” the governor said.
”I am glad to announce here that the president had directed the ministry to work on removing the causeway.
“There shall be a bridge here, the causeway will be removed and there shall be free flow freely. So Mombasa will permanently remain an island as a result of working together,” he said.
The governor also assured residents that his county government is looking for solutions to the garbage management menace in the tourism hub.
”For 60 years Kibarani was a dumpsite where residents dumped their garbage into the sea and that is why we decided to shut it down permanently.
“But waste management is a great challenge across the continent,” Mr Joho said as he urged Kenyans to take their responsibilities in dumping garbage.
He said he should not be blamed for the waste problem, saying that it is the responsibility of all citizens.
”This should not be a blame game, let us take our roles to ensure we have a safe cleaner, greener and sustainable environment.
According to the Kenya National Highways Authority (KeNHA), construction the bridge will be part of the expansion of the Mombasa-Jomvu road into a dual carriageway at a cost of Sh6.5 billion.
The bridge will be a little longer than the structure, which is 120 metres.