National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) has temporarily shut down a sisal processing plant in Voi sub-county following concerns that effluence from the factory might get into Voi River.
The NEMA County Director Edith Kalo said that an inspection tour at Voi Point Limited, formerly Voi Plantation Limited, revealed that some of the discharges from sisal processing units were ending up in Voi River which was hazardous to the environment.
She added that NEMA had ordered for closure of the plant until the firm puts in place proper ways of disposing of the waste.
“We found some of the effluence pose health risks and might get into Voi River which is dangerous for communities and livestock using the waters. The company must find safe ways of disposing of such waste,” said Ms. Kalo.
The NEMA County boss further said that her department was committed to strictly enforce environmental safety rules to avoid degradation and other environmental-unfriendly activities.
There have been intensified efforts to rehabilitate Voi River and other vital water catchment areas in the region.
In the past few months, NEMA with the help of the law enforcement agencies has been conducting frequent raids in several areas along the river where illegal sand harvesting and brick-making have been going on.
Efforts to contact Mr. Zul Abb, a consultant for the company, were unsuccessful as calls and text sent were not replied to.
However, a source at Voi Plant Ltd termed the closure as unfortunate.
Speaking on condition of anonymity because he is not authorised to speak for the company, the source said NEMA struck just when plans to modernise the plant were at an advanced stage.
He said the management was insisting on a safety-first policy by maintaining safety standards for workers, neighbouring communities and the environment.
“The new bosses were in the process of installation of a recycling plant to do away with the collection water,” he explained.
Initially, past management used to have fortified ponds where all water used for sisal processing collected.
Under Voi Point Ltd, there are plans to recycle the water for use by the sisal processors which would eliminate the dumping challenge.
By Wagema Mwangi