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Learning disrupted as quarry miners encroach school land

By Julius Chepkwony | Published Wed, June 13th 2018 at 00:05, Updated June 13th 2018 at 00:08 GMT +3
A stone quarry adjacent to Nyathuna Primary school in Bahati Nakuru County on June 12, 2018. [Kipsang Joseph/Standard]

Learning has been disrupted at Nyathuna Primary in Bahati Constituency after quarry operators encroached the school compound.

For the 450 pupils, learning has been a nightmare due to the noise from the quarry.

Teachers and parents are complaining about the noise, as heavy machinery excavate stones and vehicles transporting the stones drive in and out endlessly.

The quarry is only three meters from some classrooms and is a risk to the lives of pupils and teachers.

Continued encroachment of the school land is a disaster in waiting, with fears that pupils may fall into the uncovered pits.

Teachers and parents who spoke to The Standard said the environment is no longer conducive for learning.

Jesse Kihara, the school's headteacher, says noise from the quarry is irritating and unbearable.

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Kihara, who has only been at the school for four weeks, having been transferred from Olkalau, says the presence of the quarry near the school is giving him a headache.

"It is almost impossible to teach when excavation is going on with the quarry being just a few metres from classrooms. I am planning a meeting with parents and the board of management to discuss the way forward," said Kihara.

Harvest stones

Mr Kihara said despite their complaints, operators have continued to harvest stones with impunity. "They don't care and would not listen to our cries."

When The Standard visited the school, the miners were busy digging out stones. The teachers tried to explain to them how the activities affected learning and posed a risk to pupils but the pleas were met with rude silence, as the miners continued with their work as if nothing was happening.

Pupils could be seen trying to block their ears using their palms due to the excessive noise from explosives.

"You do not need to be told what is happening is illegal. It is a matter of common sense," said Kihara.

"We are calling on the National Environmental Management Authority to intervene. In fact, all responsible government agencies should visit this area and see what is happening," said the headteacher.

Henry Ngere, a parent, said the explosives used cause tremors at times. "We fear the tremors will weaken foundations of the structures in this area and put the lives of residents at a risk," he said.

County Nema director Omondi Were said they were not aware of the encroachment and that the school had not filed a complaint at his office.

However, area Chief Paul Gikungu, said to have been trying to resolve the matter, was not reachable.

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