The National Environment Management Agency (NEMA) and the Water Resources Agency (WRA) on September 11 warned that it will come down hard on uncertified gold mines in Nandi County following numerous complaints from locals of environmental degradation and noise pollution.
Speaking during an inspection tour at Kapsaos and Chemase areas, National Environment Complaints chairperson John Chumo said environmental pollution has become rampant in the area to the extent of exposing residents to harmful processing chemicals like mercury and cyanide.
“These goldmines have not been certified by the government. We will certainly close them down because we have laid down procedures and regulations for people who want to engage in mining,” said Mr. Chumo.
So dire is the degradation that it has left open pits which are potentially dangerous for children going to school and residents at night.
Environment pollution and degradation is nothing new in Kenya.
Between 2014 and 2016 some residents of Owino Ohuru slum in Mombasa County critically fell ill or died because of lead poisoning.
The poisoning was caused by poor disposal of radioactive waste by Kenya Metal Refineries EPZ, a battery recycling company in the village.
Its effects were devastating as children fainted and convulsed like epilepsy patients. Some of them eventually died.