Coffee factories in Kisii and Nyamira counties are at risk of being closed down or slapped with lawsuits for causing massive environmental pollution.
The National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) claimed coffee millers in the two counties have for years been responsible for water pollution.
Kisii County Director of Environment Tom Togo told The Standard that the management of the coffee factories in the region had been notified of the move, adding that locals had been complaining about them.
“Most of the coffee factories discharge effluent directly or indirectly into the rivers, contaminating the water. Most of them have obsolete equipment that need upgrading to factor in waste management systems,” said Mr Togo.
He noted that most tea factories in the two counties had adhered to environment guidelines by having in built waste management and effluent treatment plants.
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Concerns about the outdated coffee factories were captured in a report by a task force formed by Kisii Governor James Ongwae in 2013 to look into the challenges facing the coffee industry.
The task force recommended that the county government conducts an audit and needs assessment of machinery of all the factories and also assist in the establishment of modern coffee processing factories.
Nema Chief Enforcement Officer Robert Orina urged factories to put the necessary waste disposal infrastructure in place and not wait to face legal action.
“Installation of effluent treatment plants is key in utilisation of waste which could turn out to be a resource through recycling of waste. What was initially seen as a burden to the factories could turn out to be a cost cutting measure, a raw material or a source of revenue,” he said.
Factories in the region include Kebacha, Ngege, Kiogo, Enkurongo and Nyabonge.