Imara Daima residents blame factories for health complications

Imara Daima Railway Station in Nairobi. Imara residents have raised concerns over pollution caused by nearby factories

NAIROBI, KENYA: Residents of Imara Daima, Nairobi, are concerned about air pollution caused by factories in the area.

Many of the residents fear that the fumes from the factories may cause them serious long-term health complications.

They said the entire area - from the railway station to Imara Gardens, Maziwa and Villa Franca - was affected.

Some residents of Villa Franca said they usually hear a loud bang at night, followed by some bad smell.

James Mutua, who has lived in Maziwa for the past eight years, said the factory emitting the fumes mainly does so during the evening or early morning.

“The fumes have seriously affected my daughter. She has been experiencing respiratory problems for a while now,” said Mutua.

“You can’t even sleep when they release the fumes,” said Angela Muthama, another resident.

Nausea and headaches

She says she has been having persistent headaches for the past few weeks. 

Several residents who spoke to Metropolitan said they had been experiencing regular episodes of nausea, headaches, coughing, dizziness, breathing difficulties and discomfort.

They blamed their health complications on inhaling toxic fumes from the factories.

 In 2015, the National Environment Management Authority (Nema) shut down three industries in Imara Daima, which were found to be polluting the air.

Many thought this would settle the matter, but the problem continues.

Joe Kimanga, Imara Daima Community chairman, said they had written to Nema, the county government, and the ombudsman.

"Nema promised to resolve the issue, but they haven’t to date."

The residents have signed an online petition, asking Nema to tackle the problem.

“Kindly and urgently note that while we appreciate that the rainy season is here, there is a growing and deep concern that air pollution in Imara has undoubtedly intensified. We have seen residentspost complaints on various social media platforms since the rains began,” reads the petition.

“In view of this serious attack on Imara air and our public health, please let’s all be vigilant and do something. We are setting up this petition to share our concerns and to show the authorities concerned that this is serious,” says the petition.