Turf war: House committee to grill owners of firm in pollution row

National Environment Management Authority

A parliamentary committee has summoned the managers of an alcoholic drinks firm accused of pollution by a neighbouring housing estate in Athi River.

The officials of London Distillers are scheduled to appear before the Environment Committee of the National Assembly tomorrow to answer claims of emptying toxic waste water into the surroundings, leading to discomfort and disease among the residents of Great Wall Gardens, which is owned by Edermann Property Ltd.

London Distillers General Manager Pawan Ghelot yesterday accused Erdemann Property Managing Director Zeyun Yang of malice in the back-and-forth that saw the National Environment Management Authority (Nema) order the closure of the 35-year-old distillery on the outskirts of Nairobi last year.

“I am ready to take the MPs to the ground to confirm that there is no smell and that our effluence treatment is working perfectly,” said Mr Ghelot. He claimed Erdemann was at fault for building a housing estate in an industrial area. He cited London Distillers' neighbours as Tuff Foam Mattresses and China Wu Yi.

“We are asking how the developer got approvals to build homes in the middle of all these factories.”

Erdemann has built about 2,000 apartments in the area but has struggled to fill them up because of the surrounding industries, according to Mumias East MP Benjamin Washiali, who said he was among the buyers. Mr Ghelot is set to appear before the Environment Committee, to which Mr Washiali is a member, a week after Nema was questioned on the issue.

The debate is expected to shift to how the housing approvals were granted, even though Mr Yang holds that the distillery should either be shut down or made to upgrade its effluence treatment plant.

 

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