Factories on notice over Water Pollution

By HSE East Africa | Tuesday Feb 19, 2019

The Environment ministry yesterday warned factories and individuals against discharging effluent into water bodies.

According to the Environment Cabinet Secretary, Keriako Tobiko, the ministry has instructed the National Environment Management Authority to punish those culpable including prosecution of culprits and closure of industries.

“We’ll shut down the industries discharging effluent into the rivers and destroying people’s lives. This must stop,” he said.

Tobiko said there should be no excuse for individuals or entities to discharge waste or effluent into Lake Victoria.The law will be applied without fear or favour, he said. “Nema should map out all these polluting sources, serve those not served with notices and then undertake aggressive arrest, prosecution and legal action.”

The CS urged the Judiciary to support the war on pollution and ensure no company is granted orders to continue operations. “We have a case where one factory actually got a court order to continue operations after the ministry undertook corrective actions against them,” he said.

Kisumu residents have protested against discharge of effluent into Lake Victoria. They accused Kibos Sugar and Allied Industries of endangering their lives and those of their animals.

Late last year, Environment Court Judge Stephen Kibunja ordered the closure of the mill over massive pollution of River Kibos and its surroundings. Benson Adega, Eric Ochieng and Bether Opiyo sought the orders. They said the company was emptying effluent into the river — the main source of water for Kisumu East residents. The firm was ordered to stop milling, producing power and distilling alcohol, pending conclusion of the case.

Through lawyer Frank Olel, however, it sought orders allowing its operations. It said the closure would put more than 2,000 employees out of work. Olel said the firm pays more than Sh1 billion to the county in taxes every year.

Tobiko planned to visit the company. “I’m a lawyer myself. I don’t want to encroach on the territory of the judicial system. I want to look at the order and proceedings.”

MAGNAM Environmental Network had also appealed to the county and Nema to stop the release of raw sewage into River Saka. They blamed Kodiaga Prison for the problem.

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