Three companies have been ordered to pay over Sh11 million to the Export Processing Zones Authority (EPZA) for using its sewer line illegally.
Justice Oscar Angote also ruled that it is the EPZA that should control industrial effluent from companies operating within the Athi River Export Processing Zone Complex, bringing to an end a long-running dispute over the matter.
He said there was evidence that Kapa Oil Refineries Ltd, Doshi Enterprises Ltd and Decent Developers Ltd colluded with Mavoko Water and Sewerage Company Ltd and Tanathi Water Services Board to illegally connect their sewer lines to EPZA’s trunk sewer without consent.
“Any connection to EPZA main sewer line by any other authority without consent is illegal, null and void. The companies are, therefore, ordered to pay a total of Sh11,664,000 being the cumulative arrears from March 2010,” ruled the judge. He also ordered all companies operating within the EPZ to enter into negotiations with the authority on how they will be discharging their effluent to the main sewer line and to the treatment plant.
The judge at the same time criticised the privatisation of water and sewerage services, saying it shifts the State’s obligation of the provision of clean water and environment by putting it in the hands of a few individuals who might abuse it.
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“The right to a clean and healthy environment is equated to the right to life because there can be no life in a toxic and polluted environment. The State is, therefore, obliged to provide resources to scale up efforts to provide safe, clean and affordable drinking water and sanitation to all,” he ruled.
He noted that there were many industries and homes within the industrial zone who have been illegally depositing effluent and that the EPZA need to take charge to stop the environmental pollution. The dispute started in 2010 when Kapa Oil, Sanpac Africa, Allpack Industries, Orbit Chemicals, Mabati Rolling Mills, Doshi Enterprises and Decent Developers stopped paying fees to EPZA for the discharge of their waste to the main sewer line.