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Addressing AMR polution to improve health and livelihoods

Addressing Livestock-derived Antimicrobial pollution in the Nairobi River in Kenya’ is a UKRI-funded project to improve the water quality of Nairobi River. The project aims to raise awareness of environmental AMR and decrease the hazards associated with producing and consuming heavily contaminated animal source foods. The project is directly engaging with local livestock-keeping communities and fish farmers, to facilitate the use of innovative filters aimed at stopping antibiotic residues and drug-resistant bacteria from entering the river.


Simon Kihu, Programs Coordinator and Mary Opiyo, Research Aquaculture Scientist in Nairobi have written a blog post about the project and Nairobi River.

A sustainable solution to tackle AMR pollution

The filters are designed to be low-cost, environmentally friendly, and potentially locally-sourced from materials available in Kenya. Therefore, they represent a sustainable solution to reduce environmental AMR pollution from the waste discharges of livestock production and fish farming. If successful, this approach could be scaled up to other settings across the Global South.


Our project aims to directly support local communities in dealing with antimicrobial pollution. Working with the many stakeholders involved, we hope to use innovative interdisciplinary research to develop a solution to this problem for the many users of river water in Nairobi’, says Principal Investigator Professor Claire Heffernan.




Success in tackling the aims of this project requires close synergy of the interdisciplinary skills of the team involved, working with stakeholders to apply new science and engineering methods to identify and filter out pollution that blights the lives of the local communities.  It is an excellent challenge to rise to and to show how new technologies can really benefit the life and livelihoods of people who use the water for all sorts of purposes’, says Co-Investigator, Professor Kenneth Grattan OBE FREng.


Improving health and livelihoods

The direct benefits of the project for these communities relate to improved public health via improvements to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and food security. Livelihood benefits are also likely to accrue as livestock health is improved. In this manner, the project aims to improve the lives and livelihoods of some of the most marginalised communities on the planet.


The project runs for an initial period of 12 months from May 2020 and has been made possible thanks to a grant from UKRI’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.


Sandpit event

On 17 March 2021, The University of Nairobi is hosting a sandpit event. (free and open to all). The interdisciplinary sandpit will bring together Kenyan and international policy makers with experts in engineering, public health, toxicology, environmental and social science. The event will facilitate interactive peer discussions and knowledge exchange to explore local expertise for construction, installation, testing and maintenance of an innovative filter made from materials that are readily available in Kenya. The participants will explore solutions to enable their effective application to the local context.



A partnership between:



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