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Chemicals firm sued over water pollution

By Harold Odhiambo | January 26th 2020
By Harold Odhiambo | January 26th 2020
Sewerage making its way into a river. [File, Standard]

The Agro Chemicals and Food Company is facing an uncertain future after two residents of Muhoroni moved to court demanding its closure over alleged pollution.

The company will know its fate on Wednesday when the Land and Environment Court delivers a ruling on whether they close temporarily pending hearing and determination of the suit.

Patrick Odundo and Maxwell Otieno want the company closed until it finds an alternative waste disposal channel, arguing that the effluent is threatening aquatic life in River Nyando and Lake Victoria.

They have accused Agro Chemicals of discharging raw effluent into River Nyando and thus polluting the water which serves thousands of people.

The applicants are also pushing to have the company’s licence suspended by the National Environment Management Authority (Nema) should it fail to comply with their demands.

“We pray that the suspension of the company’s licence by Nema also remains in force,” reads the petition.

Agro Chemicals has however denied polluting the environment and told the court it has complied with all legal requirements and environmental regulations.

Through lawyer Peter Macharia, the company told court it had a valid licence that was to expire on December 31, 2019 but had since paid renewal fees.

“The company has an elaborate, functional and efficient effluent treatment system which is operated and maintained, and therefore does not discharge raw effluent into rivers as alleged,” said Macharia.

Nema on the other hand wants the company closed and is also seeking conservatory orders to stop Agro Chemical from further discharging its industrial waste into River Nyando and Muhoroni Township. 

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