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Ten Infants Dying Monthly In Kiganjo From Kang’oki Poisonous Emissions.

Community leader Peninah Wambui addressing the press on their concerns. (Inset): A section of the said dumpsite.
Emissions coming from the Thika Kang’oki dumpsite is claiming at least 10 infants monthly. This is according to the residents of Muthaiga, Kamenu and Kiganjo Estates in Thika West Sub-County who are now calling for the closure of a section of the dumpsite.

The locals who had convened a meeting with their MCA Ms. Elizabeth Muthoni at Muthaiga on Tuesday alleged that the toxic smoke and odour emanating from the dumpsite had turned out to be a threat to their health and their lives. They said that unknown people have been burning the waste dumped near the residential areas at night emitting lethal smoke.

According to them, the gas has also taken toll on expectant mothers who have been miscarrying and giving birth to abnormal kids.

“We are tired of burying our children and losing babies to the hazardous smoke and foul smell coming from the dumpsite. We are not spared either because most residents have been complaining of chest pains and headaches all because of the smoke. We are at risk of attracting more diseases because flies have been flocking our houses in swarms,” said community leader Peninah Wambui.

The locals pointed an accusing finger to Kiambu County Government whom they accused of laxity.

“We want the county government to show us the boundary between residential areas and the dumpsite. Since 2013 they have been pushing waste towards our homes and now it is becoming too much and must be addressed to avert more crises,” Wambui said.

They said that a year ago they notified the county government of the dangers they were being exposed to but no action has yet been taken to address the situation.

“Even after we informed them that we were losing lives and getting sick, they have given our cries a deaf ear,” said resident Godfrey Gitu a resident of the area since 2003.

He added that their problem escalated and worsened ever since the county government took over from the defunct Thika Municipal Council, saying that the county government just added more heaps of garbage.
Resident Ruth Simaloi said that she has been experiencing chest pains for two years adding that the doctors told her that it was as a result of inhaling toxic smoke.

“I have nowhere else to go therefore I have been forced stay here but under medication,” she said.

Area MCA Elizabeth Muthoni took issue with the county Environment department saying that the Executive, Ms. Esther Njuguna, was a letdown to the count y government in conservation of environment.
Muthoni, who is also the chairperson of the county assembly environment committee, said that even though the Department of Environment has been allocated sh. 30 million in the last three financial year for tree planting and an additional sh. 10 million for rehabilitation of dumpsites in Kiambu which included, Limuru, Kiambu, Kiambaa and Kang’oki, nothing has been done.

She too confirmed the death figures of infants aged between one month and six months to the noxious smoke and smell emanating from the dumpsite.

“It’s true my people have been losing children and expectant mothers miscarriage all because of negligence of the environment department. Proper management measures must embarked on in the dumpsite to save lives,” she said.

Kamenu sub-chief Ms. Mary Mumbi however said that her office had been issuing burial permits of four or five infants a month.

The residents demanded for a crisis meeting with the county government and locals who scavenge in the dumpsite over management of the vast dumpsite.

“There are people who depend on this dumpsite for a living and their opinion must also be respected. We only want proper management of waste,” said resident James Macharia.

In a swift rejoinder, the county Executive member in charge of Environment and Natural Resources Ms. Esther Njuguna quashed allegations that the infants have been succumbing to effects of the dumpsite.

“It’s only doctors who can ascertain the cause of the deaths if there’s any. However, burning of the waste is illegal, we are pursuing the arsonists and stern legal action will be taken against them,” she said.

She said that the county government is working round the clock to complete the Semi Aerobic Landfill waste management project in the Dumpsite to enhance proper management of solid waste.

She said once complete, residents will get employment since there will be recycling of the waste.
County Director of Environment Mr. Andrew Kimani said that the health matters and infant mortality rate raised by area residents was not true.

The two however said that they will follow up the matter until it was resolved adding that they would also ascertain whether the waste is being dumped on people’s land.

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