SOUTH B INDUSTRIES

Factories emitting toxic gas to be shut

One firm dealing in lubricants has not submitted its environmental audit

In Summary

• 20 factories inspected, three suspected to be emitting  noxious fumes.

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South B MCA Waithera Chege
CONCERNED: South B MCA Waithera Chege
Image: MAUREEN KINYANJUI

Factories found releasing toxic gas in Nairobi’s South B estate will be prosecuted.

The Nairobi county government says the industries may be closed if found culpable.

Environment  Chief Officer David Makori on Monday said already 20 factories  have been inspected and three were suspected to be emitting  toxic  gases .

The county confirmed irritating and chocking emissions in the area.

From last month, residents of South B estate have been complaining of noxious emissions from some factories. 

They say the emissions have caused respiratory ailments including coughing, vomiting and nose bleeding especially among children.

An investigation by the Environment committee on Thursday showed most factories have been approved by Nema.

Makori said all industries in the capital undergo yearly audit on their emissions and submit reports to City Hall and the National Environment Management Authority.

But one company which deals with lubricants has not submitted its audit.

“There is a possibility that Nema gave them a go ahead and that is why the company is operating regardless of the emissions, "Makori said

The company did not produce its operating license during the site visit.

Area MCA Waithera Chege said the owners said they would produce the license on Monday but have since ignored her calls.

"What was also strange is that the company didn't have any sign board on the road nor does it have any information on the web," Waithera said.

Waithera said the toxic smell is still a problem and South B residents are still complaining.

"It is unfortunate because we have the school holiday about to start, meaning that our children will be at a higher risk of contacting respiratory illness from the emissions as they play during the day, “she said.

The legislator had given Nema 14 days to prepare a full report showing the location of the companies and the owners, failure to which she would petition for disbandment of the agency.

City Hall however said they are currently working with other institutions to carry out tests and present findings on the emissions.

“At the moment, the county has no capacity to carry out the tests because we don’t have the air pollution kits. But we are working with other institutions like the University of Nairobi ,” Makori said.

The county is in the process of purchasing its own air filters.