Machakos County has closed down Endmor Steel Millers Ltd in Syokimau and suspended its business licence following complaints of pollution.
Members of the public raised concerns over the approval of the miller’s operations in a residential area, alleging links to a girl’s death and respiratory diseases suffered by many.
An expose by Citizen TV titled “We cant breath” led to public uproar as the National Environment Management Authority (Nema) was blamed for the company's continued operations.
“After complaints by the public, I dispatched my Environment minister on June 26, who carried out an inspection at Endmor and looked into the complaints of pollution,” Governor Alfred Mutua said on Monday.
“We are made to believe that there is a matter between Nema and the company in court but my government is not party to it,” he said, noting it is of great public interest.
A report seen by the Nation says the environment department carried out an inspection on June 26 at the factory located near Gateway Mall.
On air pollution, the team found out that the smelting of scrap metal into steel products produced smoke and dust.
“The company did not provide evidence of compliance to air quality guidelines. Nema’s air quality audit report and annual licences were not made available for inspection,” read the report.
A court ordered the company and Nema to carry out air quality audits but only verbal commitment was given.
The county also discovered that the company lacked enough sanitary facilities, with only four toilets and no running water.
“The toilets were inadequate for a workforce of more than 300 and there was overwhelming evidence that Covid-19 rules were not adhered to,” the report also stated.
Governor Mutua, who gave the company until Monday to comply, said it will only be reopened and the suspension lifted if it complies with the recommendations in the report.
He said the pollution must be stopped and clean production processes adopted.
“Occupational health and safety standards and protocols must be put in place to the satisfaction of Nema and Machakos County,” he said.