HAZARDOUS LANDFILL

Storm over turning veterinary land into waste treatment plant

County environment director says no approval given for plant

In Summary

• The grazing land is being utilised by the Kenya Veterinary department as a quarantine facility with Sentinel cattle for research into Rift Valley Fever.

• Farm manager says encroachment is suspect as it comes when all eyes are on the coronavirus.

 

Smoke billows from Ngong dumpsite. Residents fear for their lives.
TAKEOVER: Smoke billows from Ngong dumpsite. Residents fear for their lives.
Image: COURTESY:

The proposed conversion of land belonging to the State Department of Livestock into a solid waste management plant has raised a storm.

It has drawn in the Environment ministry and the Kajiado county government.

The land is being used by the Kenya Veterinary department as a quarantined facility with Sentinel cattle for research on the Rift Valley Fever.

They want to put a dumpsite without following due process. They target 20 acres. It is suspect now that everything has come to a halt following the outbreak of coronavirus.
Farm manager Phillip Kiok
 

On Thursday, a resident on Keraropon Drive, Ngong, revealed an attempt to slice off some of the land. He requested anonymity.

“We as Keraropon drive residents bordering the Kenya Veterinary farm that belongs to the state are against any grabbing and converting it into a dumpsite,” the resident told the Star on the phone.

Farm manager Phillip Kiok told the Star on the phone the land has never changed hands from the Department of Livestock.

“They want to put a dumpsite without following due process. They target 20 acres. It is suspect now that everything has come to a halt following the outbreak of coronavirus,” Kiok told the Star on the phone.

Kenya Vet is among state agencies with huge chunks of land that grabbers are targeting.

Kiok confirmed there have been attempts to grab their land.

He said initial plans to put up the dumpsite had been rejected by the ministry.

“The land is used for disease diagnostics and efficacy trials. It was never donated by the Maasai community as it is not a trust land,” Kiok said.

He said there are few parcels of land, as in Kabete.

Kajiado Land executive Hamilton Barseina added a new twist to the controversy, claiming the land belongs to the county.

“We are planning to put up a processing plant there. We have obtained the necessary approvals,” Barseina said.

Kajiado Environment director Joseph Kopejo told the Star on the phone that the county has not been given any approval.

Controversy

The county government of Kajiado is in the process of decommissioning the existing Ngong Dumpsite before relocating to the land in contention.

“They have deposited with us two proposals. The first one is for the decommissioning of Ngong Dumpsite on-site. This means that whatever waste is left there will be retained and managed until depleted. The second proposal is for an integrated solid waste management system. The facility will process waste, recovering what can be recovered and produce power,” Kopejo said.

None has been approved, he said.

Kopejo said the county will have to settle the land ownership row.

Efforts to reach Lands CS Farida Karoney and Environment CS Keriako Tobiko were unsuccessful as they neither replied to texts nor picked calls.

The county government of Kajiado is in the process of decommissioning the existing Ngong Dumpsite before relocating to the land in contention.

Initially, Governor Joseph Lenku's plan was to build an Integrated waste Management Site funded by the Italian government and UN Habitat.

The donors pulled out of the Sh2 billion project, saying it was not feasible.

The waste management project had caused an uproar among residents who raised health concerns.

Farm manager Kiok said when the county was told to justify the project. They did not produce any documents.

During the last campaigns, Lenku promised to decommission the Ngong dumpsite as it was a health hazard.

The residents of Keraropon support the closing of the Ngong dumpsite, however, they object to it being transferred to their backyard.

(Edited by V. Graham)