Kenya: Kisumu Residents Sue Agro Chemicals Over Pollution

21 January 2020

Two Kisumu residents have moved to court seeking to have Agro Chemicals and Food Company Limited closed for discharging raw industrial effluent into River Nyando.

The petitioners claimed farming, fishing, livestock keeping and other related economic activities that depend on the have been disrupted.

INDUSTRIAL WASTES

In the suit filed before Environment and Lands Court Judge Anthony Ombwayo, Mr Patrick Odundo and Mr Maxwell Otieno are seeking a mandatory order of injunction compelling Agro Chemicals to find an alternative disposal site for all toxic chemicals other than River Nyando and Muhoroni Township.

In the suit, the company is named as the first respondent and National Environment Management Authority (Nema) and the Attorney General as second and third respondents.

The two are demanding an injunction to the company permanently restraining any further refuse disposal into the river and or Muhoroni Township pending hearing and determination of the case.

"That in failure to comply with the prayer above, the plant be closed till full compliance. We pray that the suspension of the company's licence by Nema remains in force," he added.

The suit comes few weeks after Nema ordered the company's closure on December 9 last year and issued stern warning to Kisumu Maximum Prison Kodiaga and Maseno University over pollution of rivers and Lake Victoria.

POLLUTION

Mr Mamo Boro Mamo, Nema's acting director- general, had instructed his team to draft withdrawal of the licence following the company's persistent violation of environmental laws.

He said continued pollution of River Nyando was making its water unfit for domestic use.

The petitioners claim there is deliberate discharge of toxic industrial waste into Nyando River basin and Muhoroni Township with adverse consequences to the health of residents downstream.

They also claim Nema recently withdrew the company's licence on account of breaches and non-compliance with the law regarding refuse disposal.

CONSERVATION

According to them, the State has the obligation to ensure sustainable, utilisation, management and conservation of environment and natural resources, instead this has been abdicated.

They want an environmental restoration order issued against the Agro Chemical and that company be compelled to supply the petitioner with a comprehensive environmental impact assessment report and audit on the extent of the effluent discharge into River Nyando and the adjunct report and or statistics of the waste and its disposal.

"The respondents are tasked with the duty to protect and enhance safety within the environment, this to the contrary has been breached with far reaching consequences to the petitioner and inhabitants of the Nyando River basin," said Mr Odundo.

He said there is need to establish more efficient systems including control, prevention and regulation of toxic wastes.

The petitioners said that unless the court intervenes, the company shall sustain their illicit activities with dangerous consequences to the Nyando River basin. A ruling on the case will be made on January 24, 2020.

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