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Court shuts down factory over claims of releasing toxic effluents

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The High Court in Kisumu on October 31 revoked the license of Kibos Sugar & Allied Industries Ltd (KSAIL) and shut down all its five factories pending the hearing and determination of the case.

The ruling is a major blow for the plant which produce sugar, ethanol, paper, gas and fertilizer.

Justice S. M. Kibunja who presides over Environment and Land division at the Kisumu High Court gave the orders to shut the factory temporarily while setting the next hearing for November 14, 2018.

The National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) had earlier on issued a 14-day closure notice to KSAIL over allegations of pollution.

Officials from NEMA’S Complaints Committee raided the factory located on the outskirts of Kisumu city following concerns by local residents who claimed that it was polluting the air and the nearby rivers which drained into Lake Victoria.

The private sugar factory was issued with a two week ultimatum to stop emptying its effluent into Rivers, Kibos and Lie Lang’o which residents use as a source of water. The effluents also pose a danger to the aquatic life.

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NEMA officials threatened to suspend the factory’s ethanol distillery over poor waste disposal accusing it of polluting the two rivers with dangerous chemical waste.

“We registered several complaints from the public and county government. We immediately went to the site on a fact finding mission. We have since established that there was poor compliance,” declared Dr. John Chumo, NEMA’s Complaints Committee Secretary.

The Complaints Committee declared that KSAIL was in total contravention of environmental laws and threatened to suspend all its operations should it fail to implement the recommendations made to it by NEMA within two weeks.

Kisumu County NEMA Officer, Ngaira Osiema was at pains to explain how the KSAIL lagoon which has been in use for over two years was commissioned without meeting the laid down construction specifications.

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KSAIL chairman, Raju Chanan Patel admitted that his factory was liable for the effluents release having conducted a quick survey with a view to helping the firm’s management improve on the areas of concern.

Mr. Patel claimed that there had been an accidental spillage of the distillery’s industrial waste a month earlier but the issue was immediately addressed.

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