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Coca Cola Company faces closure on toxic waste claims

The Water Resources Management Authority (WARMA) has threatened to close down Coca Cola Equatorial Bottlers Company in Kisumu over claims of discharging toxic waste into Lake Victoria.

On Wednesday, WARMA Chair Joe Mutambo accused the company of failing to meet required standards on waste water disposal.

Mutambo who led a team of WARMA inspectors on a tour of the company following concerns from members of the public said the water being discharged through Kisumu Water and Sewerage Company (KIWASCO) sewer line contained heavy metals.

KIWASCO, he said lacked the capacity to treat such waste adding that the water being discharged into the lake was contaminated and posed a threat to aquatic and human life.

The company’s waste water treatment plant, he said was not efficient adding that one of the tanks had a leakage through which raw waste water finds its way to the lake. This, he said was a big concern since the water consumed in Kisumu City and its environs is drawn from the lake.

“It is unfortunate that we are exposing our people to such harm. The fish we harvest from the lake have not been spared either,” he said.

WARMA issued a three weeks’ notice to the company to fix the waste water discharge system or face closure. Besides it also gave the management three days to decommission the old water treatment plant and seal the leakage.

WARMA Technical Manager Eng. Boniface Mwaniki directed the firm to avail a detailed waste water and sewerage treatment plan to the agency for approval.

The inspections, he said shall be carried out countrywide to ensure that the water being discharged into water bodies is not contaminated.

“We are working with water companies and industries to look at the waste water treatment infrastructure and ensure it meets the required standards,” he said.

Mwaniki added that WARMA has embarked on regulation of septic tanks to control disposal of waste especially in towns that don’t have sewerage treatment systems. “We want to have a database of exhausters so that we know where they collect and dispose of the waste,” he said.

He added that WARMA has started licensing of dams to ensure that they are constructed to the required standards.

“We are asking anybody who intends to construct a dam to liaise with us so that we look at their plans before issuing them with a license to proceed with the construction,” he said.

The agency, he added was currently conducting an audit of the existing dams to ensure that they have complied with the regulations.

By Chris Mahandara

 

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