Meat traders in Ol Kalou town have protested the anticipated move by the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) to close a slaughterhouse in the area, saying that their livelihoods were at stake.
Led by Ol-Kalou Business Community Chairperson, Peter Thinji, the traders noted that the hygienic condition of the whole town was in a sorry state, adding that targeting the slaughterhouse alone had some sinister motives.
“We feel that the move by NEMA is politically instigated by a private slaughterhouse which will yield benefits if the public one is closed. We cannot trust the meat that comes from the private slaughter house as they may fail to meet the standard,” said Thinji noting that private abattoirs had encouraged stock theft in the past.
NEMA officials, who visited the facility on Wednesday, issued a notice to the county government, urging them to “construct a proper effluent disposal system” at the facility in 21 days.
“You are directed to immediately close down the slaughterhouse facility that is heavily contaminated by rumen content and bloody liquid waste which predisposes environmental and public health concern,” read the notice in part, signed by the Marian Kioko, for Director General.
The slaughter house waste that included blood and other animal waste are currently directed into a nearby stream, untreated, posing a risk to the residents who rely on its waters downstream. The town does not have an established sewerage system in place, with the residents anticipating its construction as the county headquarters continues to expand.
“We have had this slaughter house for the last 60 years and closing it will be an act of economic sabotage which will be detrimental to our business,” said Peter Maina.
“The whole town drains its effluent into this stream as evidenced by the pipes seen along its banks, we have a septic tank and only a little amount of effluent is leaking into the river.
“NEMA should first start by closing down the county government offices, hospitals and all buildings in this town before coming here to close this abattoir, as there is no proper sewerage system put in place to drain all these wastes,” said Simon Rugane, a butcher, fearing hefty charges at the private facilities in the town.
The traders are appealing to the county government and governor Kimemia, not to move them to a private slaughterhouse as they feared the hefty charges that would in turn reduce their profit margin.
Though the slaughterhouse has recently been renovated, the traders said that the contractor did an uninspected shoddy job that made a bad situation worse.
By Francis Macharia/ Anne Sabuni