The National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), arrested seven traders in Mombasa for violating effluent discharge regulations during a weeklong crackdown on polluters.
The Authority has embarked on a countrywide 100-days Rapid Response Initiative (RRI) targeting firms and institutions discharging hazardous effluent from their premises into the environment causing pollution.
NEMA Coast Regional Director for Environment Wachira Bore said that the crackdown is intended to create awareness and ensure that firms comply with the Environment Management and Coordination Act.
“We have been at the Coast region for a week now and our focus is on waste water quality regulation and its discharge to the environment,” Bore said when he briefed the media after conducting raids in Kisauni and Nyali sub-counties.
Bore called on the public and businesses owners in the county to visit NEMA offices for voluntary compliance to avoid arrest and prosecution.
The crackdown targets fuel stations, hotels, depots, clubs and apartments and any other facility discharging wastewater.
He said out of the seven individuals arrested, five complied while two will face charges in court, adding the Authority was encouraging voluntary compliance.
Bore noted that the operation in the region is currently taking place in Mombasa County but will be extended to other counties in the region in due course.
He said the aim was to enlighten the public on the dangers of discharging wastewater into the environment including the ocean and rivers.
“Untreated waste water is harmful to the marine environment; there are other forms of life in the sea that get affected. We must ensure water going to the ocean is treated,” he added.
He further said “we have partnered with the national police service to ensure that action is taken against those who fail to comply. We are however encouraging voluntary compliance at the moment.”
Bore confirmed that the Act requires that all facilities discharging wastewater must have a bio-digester to treat the water before safely discharging out adding that failure to comply will attract a fine of between Sh2 million and 4 million or a jail term of six months to two years.
By Mohamed Hassan