Environment Cabinet Secretary Keriako Tobiko has ordered for the immediate investigation into persistent emission of toxic gases at night by some industries in Nairobi South that has led to hospitalisation of some residents.
Mr Tobiko has directed the National Environment Management Authority (Nema) and the National Environmental Complaints Committee, led by Dr John Chumo, to send a team to the ground and prepare a preliminary report to be presented back to him by Tuesday.
“I have directed the two agencies to go on site today (Monday), investigate and present a report to me tomorrow (Tuesday). The matter is now in my hands and we will take it forward,” said Mr Tobiko on Monday.
The directive by CS Tobiko comes after complaints by Nairobi South residents for more than a month now that certain factories operating in the area have been intentionally emitting poisonous gases at night that has left at least four children hospitalised and many more facing respiratory complications.
Dr Chumo said that they are already on the ground and have begun investigations to know where the problem is coming from as well as find out what could be the remedy.
“We don’t know how long it will take. The investigation is scientific and involves analysis and find out what it is using equipment already on the ground by Nema. We will give him the first report before preparing a final one,” he said.
The residents have complained that the emissions have left them suffering from nose bleeding, persistent coughing, vomiting and sore eyes, among other complications; calling for authorities to investigate and nail the culprit factories.
This prompted the area MCA Waithera Chege to write to the Environment CS last week for his intervention after she criticised Nema for their laxity in investigating the matter, accusing them of having been compromised by the owners of the said industries.
In the letter, Ms Chege complained that even after Nairobi County Assembly Environment committee together with Nema officials visited industries operating in the area on March 27, the industries have still continued releasing the toxic emissions even though Nema assured the committee that it would act immediately.
“Nairobi South residents have been victims of the unfortunate foul, pungent and often nauseating emissions from factories operating in their vicinity since 2014 which has caused quite a number of respiratory complications among the residents, especially children,” said the majority chief whip and South B MCA.
Last week, City Hall warned the more than 20 factories operating in the area that they will be closed and owners prosecuted if they continue emitting the toxic gases into the environment.
Nairobi County Environment chief officer David Makori said that some two companies, without naming names, have been adversely mentioned by residents as suspected to have been releasing the deadly emissions.