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Quarry operators told to comply with environmental laws

The National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) has warned that crushed stone quarries that produces a lot of dust and noise in West Pokot County will be closed down for failing to adhere to environmental laws.  

Giving the warning, West Pokot NEMA County Director Mr. Cliffe Barkatch said: ‘‘All the crushed stone quarries must adhere to the set environmental legislations such as the Occupational Safety and Health Act.’’  

Mr. Barkatch urged the investors to consider the health and safety concerns of the workers, the neighborhood and environment while operating at the quarries. 

He made the remarks after NEMA, health officials and Kipkomo Sub County security officers visited the crushed stone quarries in the region to ascertain whether they adhered to environmental and health legislations.  

Mr. Barkatch at the same time urged those who want to venture into gold mining to comply with environmental, health and safety regulations as stipulated in the Mining Act 2016 before they start operating. 

An officer from Kipkomo Sub County public health Office Charles Morogo underscored that dust from quarries poses various health risks to the workers and nearby households including respiratory, pulmonary, skin and eye diseases. 

He said it was the responsibility of the employer in quarry industries to ensure the workers have enough gears to protect them from work hazards. 

On his part, Kipkomo Sub County Deputy County Commissioner (DCC) Teresia Muguro lauded the quarry industry in the region saying it had helped to create employment opportunities for both skilled and unskilled residents and thus contributed to socio-economic development. 

‘‘Quarries have created employment and income opportunities thereby supporting rural livelihood diversification and household well-being,’’ Muguro noted. 

She said environmental laws are meant to help promote environment conservation and not a way of discouraging or chasing away investors.

By Anthony Melly

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