The National Environment Management Authority (Nema) has given management of Nairobi City Water and Sewerage Company seven days to stop illegal discharge of untreated sewer into the environment, or risk prosecution.
Nema's Director General, Mr Geoffrey Wahungu, said that the urban water company has until next week to address the illegal discharges at Industrial Area which find their way into Nairobi River as most industries in the area are connected to sewer lines which are not functional.
He explained that a ground inspection by the authority's inspectors last week established that the urban water firm's sewer trunk-line running off Lunga Lunga road, opposite Trans Africa, was discharging blush untreated effluent directly into the environment causing contamination and pollution of both the soil and water.
"You are therefore directed to stop any further discharge of effluent into Nairobi River within seven days failure to which Nema will take further action including prosecution without any further reference to you," said Mr Wahungu in the letter dated May 6, 2019.
The director general said that the offense by the urban water firm is in contravention of the provisions of Environmental Management and Coordination Act (EMCA) and Environmental Management and Coordination Regulations, 2006 denying the affected residents the right to a clean and healthy environment as envisioned in the Constitution.
Mr Wahungu observed that Section 3(1) of EMCA states that every person in Kenya is entitled to a clean and healthy environment and has a duty to safeguard and enhance it.
"When an offence is committed against this Act by a body corporate, the body corporate and every director or officer of the body corporate who had prior knowledge of the commission of the offence and who did not exercise due diligence, efficiency and economy to ensure compliance shall be guilty of an offence," he said.
Last week, Nema issued Nairobi City Water and Sewerage Company restoration orders to repair several damaged manholes across the county.
The environment agency has been carrying out inspection of illegal discharge of raw sewage by factories operating in Industrial Area, Nairobi County since last week.
So far, six people have been arrested in the process for running premises illegally discharging raw sewage into the environment with five companies closed down by the agency.
Those who were arrested last week included Mr Siraj Sharrif, the supervisor of Mas Tanners; Mr Bernard Nyamae, Nairobi Tanners supervisor and Mr James Kamorho, the supervisor of Far Horizon hides and skins.
Companies closed included Africa Apparel Limited, Mas Tannery, Far Horizon Hides and Skins, Amin Tanners and Nairobi Tanners Limited.
"The court hearing for those we had arrested is set for May 16. In addition, we have issued Twiga Chemicals with a stop order to improve on their waste handling process and Sun Flag given closure order for discharging to the sewer line untreated effluent," he said.