Residents of Nairobi’s Imara Daima area are living in fear of being poisoned in their sleep by a nearby factory that emits pungent smelling gas at night. The residents are also up in arms over what they feel is incompetence and a lack of responsiveness from National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) over the agency’s failure to take action on their complaints about the persistent pungent smell that has turned their homes into virtual gas chambers.
The gas emitted by the nearby factory has reportedly caused the children in the neighbourhood to have watery eyes, frequent headaches and irritated ears and throats. Its gotten to the point that some of the parents are making their children wear pollution masks while at home. The resident’s complaints have gotten a lot of attention from the media but NEMA hasn’t budged.
NEMA, Who is poisoning us while we sleep? – Nairobi | Daily Nation http://t.co/r76S9BC3tw
— flora nzioka (@floranzioka) April 23, 2015
Early this month the residents sent an official petition to NEMA about the smell. The petition was filed on behalf of 20,000 residents of the estates of Imara Daima, Amara Park, Imara Gardens, Villa Franca and others.
Despite the petition, residents feel NEMA is still giving their concerns short thrift and they have now started an online petition to get the agency to work.
Imara Daima residents take air pollution petition online http://t.co/IEGEVHDCRL
— Leo Kinuthia (@leokinuthiak) April 28, 2015
— Jack Riverstone (@riverstonez) April 28, 2015
In the online petition, the residents identify the offending factory as Powerex Lubricants.
“We, the residents/inhabitants of the aforementioned areas, call on NEMA (National Environmental Management Authority) to stop Powerex Lubricants from emitting poisonous gases, as it is a serious health concern for the residents/inhabitants.”
The residents want NEMA to act and close the factory before its too late.
“It is against our human rights for the said company to be making profits at the expense of our health. We fear that the effects of the gas could not only affect us immediately, but also have future ramifications to those directly affected and our unborn children.”
Good health is a Constitutional guarantee in the Bill of Rights hence each Kenyan deserves of it.
These developments come in a bad press week for NEMA. Earlier this week KTN aired two documentaries that fingered NEMA officials as being complicit in a despicable arrangement that saw foreign investors set up a lead smelter near a slum in the Changamwe area of Mombasa. The operation of the smelter caused many negative effects on the residents including skin infections and stillbirths.