Research Policy Brief On: Environmental Occurrence of Contaminants of Emerging Concern in Kenya: Status and Management Options for the Athi River Basin


In the year 2019, there was a call for proposals by VLIR-UOS for research funding under the South Initiative 2020. A team of two institutions namely University of Eldoret (UoE) led by Prof. Maurice O. Okoth (Principal Investigator) and Prof. Samuel Lutta and Ghent University –Belgium (GUB) led by Kristof Demeestere came together to respond to and won the call with a project proposal entitled: “Water quality characterization and biosorption for point-of-use drinking water treatment in Athi river basin, Kenya”. The project later roped in the Water Resources Authority (WRA) led by Kenneth O. K’Oreje for completeness.

The research has been running from 2020-2022. It focused on the assessment of contaminants of emerging concern (CECs), particularly pharmaceutically active compounds (PhACs), personal care products (PCPs) and modern pesticides in the region. Besides, selected basic physical-chemical water pollution indicators were monitored. As an added value, the study explored feasibility of using bio-sorption technology as a point-of-use technique for treatment of potable water.

The research team has introduced a critical scientific research policy brief titled "Environmental Occurrence of Contaminants of Emerging Concern in Kenya: Status and Management Options for the Athi River Basin." This document represents an important convergence of environmental chemistry, policy analysis, and sustainability solutions, with a specific focus on one of Kenya's vital river basins.

The policy brief embarks on a compelling exploration of the Athi River Basin, a region of paramount ecological significance to Kenya. The research is dedicated towards unravelling the intricate tapestry of CECs that impact this watershed. We present an in-depth status assessment of CECs in the basin, unveiling the scope of environmental challenges that confront this critical water resource.

Kenya's commitment to environmental preservation is resolute, and this policy brief aligns seamlessly with this dedication. By offering meticulously researched insights and evidence-based management options, the policy brief aims at empowering stakeholders, policymakers, and scholars to engage in informed decision-making. Together, we aspire to foster a collaborative discourse that transcends disciplinary boundaries, uniting science and policy toward the responsible management and protection of the Athi River Basin.

The researchers’ journey through this policy brief will shed light on the complexities, challenges, and opportunities in safeguarding this invaluable natural resource. It is a call to action, an invitation to dialogue, and an opportunity to collectively chart a course toward the sustainable management and revitalization of the Athi River Basin. Join us in this endeavour as we strive to secure a cleaner, healthier, and more resilient future for Kenya and its cherished ecosystems.