ILLEGAL OPERATION

Filthy abattoir closed down, Kakamega risks meat shortage

Facility unhygienic, dangerous, operated without discharge liense, channelled blood into stream, river

In Summary
  • He said that the facility was discharging liquid waste containing blood into Musoso stream joining River Isiukhu.
  • Condemnation pit collapsed, so blood tank was used but workers at open pit lack protective gear.
County Environment director Moses Tanui closing the Shirere slaughterhouse in Kakamega on Thursday October 15.
SHUT DOWN: County Environment director Moses Tanui closing the Shirere slaughterhouse in Kakamega on Thursday October 15.
Image: HILTON OTENYO

Nema on Thursday closed the main slaughterhouse for Kakamega municipality, saying it was illegal, filthy, dangerous and discharged blood into a stream and river.

County Environment director Moses Tanui said in a closure notice that warnings to the county about health hazards had been ignored, requiring the shut down.

Closure will affect meat supply in the town since the abattoir serves the entire municipality with a growing population.

The facility at Shirere had not carried out an environmental audit and was operating without a required Effluent Discharge License. It was violating numerous health and safety regulations.

Tanui said the facility was discharging poorly treated waste containing blood into the Musoso stream joining River Isiukhu.

A lagoon on the left and the confluence of river Isiukhu and Musoso stream polluted by the discharge and blood from the Shirere abattoir in Kakamega.
POLLUTED: A lagoon on the left and the confluence of river Isiukhu and Musoso stream polluted by the discharge and blood from the Shirere abattoir in Kakamega.
Image: HILTON OTENYO

"The treatment lagoons were full and overgrown with vegetation, thus could not contain the slurry," he said.

The condemnation pit for condemned animals had collapsed, prompting use of a blood tank for condemnation purpose. The workers lacked protective gear.

Tanui said the floors were worn, damaged and pocked, meaning they could not be cleaned properly.

The facility was not fully fenced from households and grassland near the polluted lagoon. Abattoir manager Reuben Chisienya said it slaughters between six and 10 animals in a day. 

Closure will also deny the county government revenue.

"I have pleaded with Nema officials to no avail but I believe the facility has budgeted for this financial year," he said.

“Being a good processing plant, the facility must observe utmost hygiene for the safety of our people. As a government, we should not be the very people violating the law but should set a good example," Tanui said.

He said his office had issued a notice to the county government to improve the facility in July and a 30-day closure notice was issued in September. Its advice was ignored.

Tanui said such facilities required strict adherence to environmental laws, health laws and other  statutory requirements which the county government violated. 

Tanui also put the privately owned Lubao slaughterhouse on notice, saying it will be the next one to close if it does not improve environmental and health standards.

Failure to comply with the Environmental Management and Coordination Act (EMCA) is punishable on conviction by a fine of at least Sh2 million, imprisonment for at least a year, or both.

(Edited by V. Graham) 

Filthy abattoir at Shirere shut down on Thursday, October 15, for illegal operation in Kakamega.
SHUT: Filthy abattoir at Shirere shut down on Thursday, October 15, for illegal operation in Kakamega.
Image: HILTON OTENYO:
The Shirere slaughterhouse in Kakamega municipality. It was closed by Nema officials on Thursday, October 15, for discharging pollutants including blood, violating htgiene requirements.
CLOSED: The Shirere slaughterhouse in Kakamega municipality. It was closed by Nema officials on Thursday, October 15, for discharging pollutants including blood, violating htgiene requirements.
Image: HILTON OTENYO