• The traders moved to the site now popular with goat meat consumers in 1996.
• About 300-400 livestock are slaughtered at the facility daily. The abattoirs release the solid waste into the river.
The long awaited closure of Kiamaiko slaughterhouse has yet again hit a hurdle after businessmen obtained orders stopping its relocation.
Nema boss Mamo Mamo said on Wednesday that even as they are cleaning the Nairobi river tributaries feeding into Thwake dam, their hands are tied.
“They (slaughterhouses) have obtained a court order restraining us from ensuring that they vacate. We will wait until the case has been heard and determined,” he said.
In 2015, the National Environment Management Authority issued a directive ordering for the closure of 15 slaughterhouses in Nairobi’s Kiamaiko.
Nema has been accusing the slaughterhouses of lacking a proper waste management system.
However, seven years later, the slaughterhouses are still in operation.
The operators continue to discharge untreated liquid waste into the river.
Kiamaiko is in Eastlands, 12kms from the city centre.
The traders moved to the site, now popular with goat meat consumers, in 1996.
About 300-400 livestock are slaughtered at the facility daily. The abattoirs release the untreated solid waste into the river.
Nema said this wasn’t the first time that questions about environmental practices and hygiene standards had been raised in Kiamaiko.
In 2018, another closure order was issued.
It was however lifted after a meeting by the owners of the abattoirs and government agencies.
During the meeting, it was resolved that the owners adhere to set regulations, failure to which they risk closure.
The operators agreed that all hides and skins will be taken to the licensed tanneries daily and all workers must be medically examined and properly dressed.
The owners had also been asked to provide clean washrooms for workers, designate holding pens away from the slaughterhouses and install monitoring chambers.
However, an emergency inspection by Nema in December last year revealed that the slaughterhouses had not fully implemented the conditions set, necessitating closure by the environment body.
Early this year, Nema said it had given the operators up to February to organise themselves and move to the new site.
Mamo had warned that the authority will not grant any further extensions.
"We have really engaged them for long, now it’s time to move,” he said.
Nema takes stock of the natural resources in Kenya and their utilisation and conservation.
The authority also monitors and assesses activities by relevant lead agencies, to ensure that the environment is not degraded.
Nema says the abattoirs are the major pollutants of Nairobi River.
The authority says they are an impediment to the ongoing efforts to spruce up the river.
Other impediments include raw sewage from the informal settlements.
Nema is cleaning up tributaries feeding into Thwake dam.
This is after the auditor general Nancy Gathungu sounded the alarm over the quality of water set to be stored by the Sh82 billion dam.
The authority is using part of the Sh1.05 billion climate change cash secured last year to clean up Thwake dam tributaries.
Nema got the funds from the Green Climate Fund. The fund is for adaptation to climate change by vulnerable communities in lower Eastern.
The funding approval was granted during the 30th meeting of the GCF board held virtually on October 6, last year.
The project is titled 'Enhancing Community Resilience and Water Security in the Upper Athi River Catchment Area'.
The region is prone to drought and paradoxically also suffers from flooding of the Athi River basin.
Gathungu in her audit said the dam’s main supply will be the Athi River whose main tributary is the Nairobi River – which studies have revealed to be polluted with heavy metals.
Approximately, two million people from lower eastern are gearing up to use the dam to end their water woes dating to the pre-independence era.
The auditor said several studies have concluded that Nairobi River water is unfit for human consumption and hence not even suitable for growing crops.
The dam, which is being constructed downstream from Thwake and Athi rivers, is set to straddle 10kms to create a lake reservoir of more than 690 million cubic metres.
It would be the main source of water for Kitui, Makueni and Machakos counties and the main supply to the upcoming Konza city.
Gathungu, in a review of the projects’ progress, said there was no evidence of efforts by the implementing agency to ensure the river will be free from pollutants.
(Edited by Bilha Makokha)