Nairobi residents are now free from health scare after NEMA swiftly acted by shutting firms emitting deadly toxic gases.
The three companies were operating in Nairobi South region posing life threat to workers and residents.
The toxic gases have contributed to persistent nose bleeding, sore eyes, persistent coughs among other symptoms from the irritating smell.
Environment Cabinet Secretary Keriako Tobiko last week Monday ordered for the immediate investigation into persistent emission of toxic gases at night by some industries in the area.
The three affected companies are Powerex Company, Edible Oils Company and Usafiplus Company located along Mombasa Road.
They remain closed to allow Nema and City Hall conduct further investigations into the issue.
“Yes, three companies have been closed down indefinitely to allow for further investigations into the matter. We want to keep investigating and tracking the process to make sure no company resumes operations without being given a clean bill of health,” said Tobiko on Wednesday.
The Environment CS had directed both 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.
This followed complaints by the residents living along Mombasa Road of the lethal emissions that had led to the hospitalization of four children as well as leaving others suffering from nose bleeding, persistent coughing, vomiting and sore eyes, among other complications.
Mr Tobiko said he had received the report from the investigations which were led by Dr Chumo leading to the decision to close the companies indefinitely to allow for more investigations.
“We are committed in the fight against pollution of any form and stern action will be taken against those found culpable of polluting the environment and putting lives of residents in danger,” he said.
Two weeks ago, City Hall had also 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 have been adversely mentioned by residents as suspected to have been releasing the deadly emissions.
Nairobi county Assembly majority whip and South B MCA Waithera Chege said that a report on the closure of the companies will be tabled before the House next week Tuesday after MCAs come back from their short recess.
“Following the closure of the companies, normalcy had resumed and I have not received any complaints from residents of more emissions. However, this is not the end of the investigations because closing them is one step towards finding a closure into this matter. We want those responsible to held accountable,” said Ms Chege.
Although reasons for the indefinite closure of Powerex and Edible Oils have not been given, Usafiplus – a waste management company – was shut for operating without a license following a site inspection by NEMA.
A report by NEMA indicated that the company in Industrial Area was incinerating medical and industrial waste albeit without a licence and had not conducted any environmental audit since 2016.
The other reasons put forward were that workers at the facility were working without any protective gear, lacked records of stock emissions or air quality assessment as well as records of incoming and incinerated waste.
“Based upon the findings, your facility should stop further operation of the facility until it meets the required standards and is licensed by NEMA. The management should also report to the NEMA offices at Nyayo House with all the relevant documents,” read in part the report signed by Veronica Maina, a NEMA inspector.