Written By Ramadhan Kambi 📝
The Kilifi County government has been petitioned by Malindi residents over the burning of toxic substances.
A section of residents have filed a petition at the Environment and Lands Court in Malindi seeking orders to stop the county government of Kilifi from burning toxic substances at the Mayungu dumpsite in the posh Casuarina area.
The ELC Petition number 6 of 2022 was filed by the Progress Welfare Association of Malindi (PWAM) and Malindi Residents Development Group (MRDG) which are stakeholder organizations that sued the county government and National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) with respect to the dumpsite in Mayungu which has become a health hazard.
Conrad Atiang the lawyer representing PWAM and MRDG said the petition is challenging the violation of the residents’ rights under articles 42,43 and 46 of the constitution which is specific to sustainable health, the right to a clean and safe environment.
He said it was the duty of the county government through the statute that establishes NEMA through EMCA act that establishes the authority to ensure there is a program that monitors and evaluates how solid waste management is done in the county.
“So, we are challenging their conduct with the dumpsite, the stakeholder organizations have tried their best to communicate with the county for a long time and up to now there has been really no action for the last three years,” he said.
The petition was in court before Malindi ELC judge Dr. Millicent Odeny.
Both the county and NEMA came in on the record for the first time and sought time to respond to the petition.
Justice Odeny granted the respondents 21 days to file the response and set the matter for mention on June 15 for full directions from the court on how to proceed with the petition.
Atiang said the nature of the case was that it was a very reckless and careless way of dumping wastes adding that the fumes that emanate from the dumpsite affect the residents mostly of Mayungu and Casuarina.
He said a big population of the residents of Malindi is affected by the toxic fumes.
“The prayers we are seeking is that the court declares that it is indeed a violation of the resident’s rights but most importantly is that we have sought the court directs them to give us a plan within six months on how they intend to deal with the waste,” he said.
Further, he said they also want the court to direct that within that period there should be a special account to which the residents will be paying their county levies and rates.
“It’s a serious public interest issue that most residents take seriously, in my assessment it’s an urgent petition because if you know how the Coast works the wind has now changed direction and the fumes which are very toxic coming out of the dumpsite are going to change direction straight into residents’ rooms and houses and that’s not how we anticipate how the government will deal with its residents,” he said.
Naomi Ang’erah a representative of Malindi Residents Development Group said the reason they took the dumpsite issue to court is that they have been crying about that problem for years.
She said the burning of toxic waste did not start now but has been there for a very long time despite them going to many offices seeking intervention trying to talk to the government to stop the burning immediately because it affects people’s health.
“Even last year in around February NEMA visited the dumpsite and also saw the way there is human population just close to the dumpsite and the burning was just going on and on which is something that happens every day,” she said.
She said NEMA then warned the county government to stop the burning but they have never stopped ever since.
Ang’erah said the environmental body also gave the county a minimum 10-point to implement for the sake of the community but that was not implemented at all.
“The Burning must stop immediately because there are many people who have been adversely affected, I have even been sent a clip of somebody who collapsed yesterday and that one is because of his health his lungs have been affected and he had to be rushed to the hospital,” she said.
Ang’erah said the Municipality of Malindi got funding to a tune of more than Sh. 100 million from the world bank and was to do recycling at the dumpsite but no project was done.
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