RISKY TO RESIDENTS, ENVIRONMENT

500 Thika families want 'dangerous' quarry closed

In Summary

• Residents say they now suffer chest pains and severe coughs caused by dust from the quarry.

Mukunike village residents Jane Njeri and Maria Mumbua on Wednesday
QUARRYING: Mukunike village residents Jane Njeri and Maria Mumbua on Wednesday
Image: /John Kamau
A section of the quarry operated by a Chinese investor in Mukunike village, Thika East
QUARRYING: A section of the quarry operated by a Chinese investor in Mukunike village, Thika East
Image: /John Kamau

More than 500 families in Mukunike village, Thika East, want a quarry operated by a Chinese investor closed, saying it is endangering their lives.

The investor, Sinohydro Corporation, crushes ballast in the quarry.

Residents say they now suffer chest pains and severe coughs caused by dust from the quarry.

 

“Our children have developed hearing problems because of the loud blasts. We no longer sleep because the noise is too loud at night when they are crushing the stones,” resident Jane Njeri said on Wednesday.

She said their houses have developed huge cracks because of the blasts from the quarry, and roofs are torn by flying debris.

A nearby church, Church of God, and a school (St Mary's Academy) have not been spared either after boulders from the quarry destroyed their roofs.

Residents said efforts to petition state agencies to safeguard the environment have been unsuccessful.

Resident Maria Mumbua said she is lucky to be alive after a huge rock almost crushed her to death at her home on Tuesday evening. The rock landed a few yards from where she was seated.

Mumbua said she left her home in Gichiiki village in Thika East, after being displaced by floods and settled in Mukunike village, only to encounter another problem.

“I was running away from floods in my village not knowing that stones would be threatening my existence in this village. If the stone that hit my house yesterday landed on me it would have torn me into pieces. This is a disaster in waiting and should be addressed urgently before lives are lost and more property destroyed,” Mumbua said.

 

Residents want the county and national governments to intervene and ensure their safety.

Area MCA Joachim Mwangi said he will table a motion in the Kiambu County Assembly for committee on Environment act swiftly and halt operations at the quarry.

“We won’t let the investor continue minting millions of money here while endangering the lives of our people and their properties. We won’t wait until we hear that some people have been killed by the stones from the quarry to act. Time is now, and the only solution is complete closure of this quarry,” Mwangi said.

The Chinese investor, operating under Sinohydro Corporation, said they have all requisite licences to operate in the area, and they are planning to compensate the villagers who have been affected.

“It’s our responsibility to take care of those who have been affected by our activities. We will compensate them duly,” an official, who declined to disclose his name, said.

 

 

The quarry operated by a Chinese investor in Mukunike village, Thika East
QUARRYING: The quarry operated by a Chinese investor in Mukunike village, Thika East
Image: /John Kamau