NAIROBI, August 21 – Operators at the Dagoretti slaughterhouses on Wednesday urged the National Environment Management Authority, NEMA, to speedily reopen the abattoirs since they were making efforts to comply with the set environmental conditions.
Evans Kalulu, a proprietor at one of the slaughterhouses said that they had spent over Sh500, 000 to construct treatment systems that would stop the pollution of the Nairobi River.
“We put the construction on the ground, what we thought was that it would be good for the systems to contain our solids and water so that it doesn’t get to the river,” Kalulu asserted.
“That was the main objective and we have done almost 95 percent of the work.”
Residents of the area also felt that most of the slaughterhouses had complied and should be reopened.
“We would like somebody kind to come and sympathise with us and have the slaughterhouses operating by tomorrow (Thursday),” said Simon Kamau, one of the residents.
“If these slaughterhouses are not reopened soon, we will see other funny kinds of meat ending up at the Nairobi market. I’m sure some wildlife meat that has not been inspected may already be in the market,” warned Dome Wamagata, another resident.
Area councillor Joseph Ndichu was also supportive of those calls.
“I would urge the Authority to reopen the slaughterhouses,” he said.
“These people have suffered and also incurred huge losses. It was wrong to discharge the effluent directly to the river but they are making efforts. What is remaining to be done is very minimal and can be done as they operate.”
However, speaking after inspecting three of the five slaughterhouses that had been ordered closed, NEMA’s Director of Compliance, Benjamin Langwen said a decision on whether to reopen them would depend on how soon they received some technical information needed from the proponents.
“Technically we were coming to evaluate how compliant they are to our conditions and we have seen there is tremendous effort being made. We are going to look at the applications and make decisions on which slaughterhouses we are going to issue with licenses,” Langwen remarked.
He added: “And those licenses then will include other conditions, which will guide them towards full compliance.”
The slaughterhouses, which are Nairobi’s main supplier of beef, were ordered closed last Wednesday but have now applied for fresh licenses from the Environmental Authority.
The abattoirs were shut down for dumping their waste into the Nairobi River, and failing to meet a three-month deadline to create proper disposal methods.
Their closure led to protests from the workers, who complained that they had been denied their only source of livelihood.
One of the workers committed suicide a day after the closures were ordered.