Nairobi's South residents cry foul over toxic emissions

Monday May 18 2020


Nairobi South residents are living in fear of a possible outbreak of respiratory diseases following the re-emergence of toxic emissions in the area.

The residents have raised concern over the persistent toxic emissions that has seen a number of them admitted to various hospitals with respiratory complications including, breathing difficulties and nose bleeding and itchy eyes. Children are the worst affected.


They said a number of estates along Mombasa Road have been affected by the toxic fumes suspected to be coming from manufacturing plants in the area.

“Several residents have had to either seek medical attention or relocate to avoid air pollution. Recently, an expectant mother started experiencing breathing problems and bleeding from the nose,” said Mr Edgar Mwandawiro, the chairperson of Eagle Plains Estate Residents Association.

He added: “There is a nursery school inside the state and we are fear for the children should learning resume next month.”

He said the problem was there last year and after National Environment Management Authority (Nema) stepped in, it stopped for a number of months before recurring towards the end of January.

In April last year, Environment Cabinet Secretary Keriako Tobiko ordered investigations after the residents complained of similar toxic emissions that led to hospitalisation of four children.


Three companies Powerex, Edible Oils and Usafiplus located along Mombasa Road were closed indefinitely to give room for investigations.

Mr Mwandawiro said despite suffering for more than three months and filing several complaints with Nema, no action has been taken. The latest correspondence to the authority was done on April 27, 2020. Nema, however, visited the estate on Monday.

In the petition, the residents urged Nema to intervene by identifying the source of the air pollution and stop it in the next seven days, failure to which they will take further measures including legal actions.


“Nema visited on Monday and met the estate representatives and they promised to investigate the source of pollution by the end of this week. We want culpable industries to be shut down,” he said.


The Area MCA Waithera Chege said: “Nema should take full responsibility and bring the culprits to book. These toxic gases can cause serious long term complications to the people. It’s against human rights for companies to continue making profits at the expense of our health.”

The MCA said that in 2019, Nema closed three companies namely Powerex, Edible Oils and East African Company before the toxic fumes disappeared.

She has challenged Nema to name who re-opened the companies and if the conditions set were met before reopening.

“I demand that Nema close the concerned companies, foot the medical expenses incurred by residents, it should also disclose the owners of the companies,” she said.