Kenya to close UK company over poisonous emissions
Lawyer Martin Oloo with Avin Galot, MD London Distillers Kenya, when they appeared before the parliamentary Environment committee to answer to allegations of environmental pollution, March 27, 2018. /JACK OWUOR
Nairobi, March 28, 2018 (AltAfrika)-Kenyan Parliamentarians,( MPs )have warned a UK company, London Distillers operating in Kenya, that it faces immediate closure if it does not adopt modern technologies that will curb environmental pollution
Managing Director Avin Galot, who faced the parliamentary Environment committee on Tuesday, was at pains to explain measures taken to address numerous complaints by residents of Great Wall Gardens which is under Erdemann Property Limited.
A Kenyan leading online publication, The Star, reports that residents have continuously complained that the pollution was causing them serious health hazards.
The liquor manufacturer admitted being at fault but said issues were bound to arise in a residential area that came up while the company existed.
Addressing the committee through its lawyer Martin Oloo, the company noted it fully complied with regulations and recommendations by the National Environment Management Authority.
“We are continuing to make efforts to comply with Nema regulations and are making quarterly reports as needed,” said Oloo.
London Distillers was taken to task over the MD’s failure to honor an earlier summon to appear before the committee.
“We were clear that we needed a copy of your passport to ascertain if you had truly been out of the country at the time of summoning,” said committee chair Kareke Mbiuki (Tharaka Nithi).
Charity Chepkwony (Njoro) accused the company of taking the plight of Kenyans lightly and noted the need for a lasting solution.
“You ignore commendations and matters on environment. It is disheartening that pregnant women are also being affected by the dangerous emissions from your company,” she said.
Benjamin Washiali (Mumias East) recommended that health experts be brought in to look into the people’s complaints.
“Health officials have to get involved to help us understand if the pollution affects the health of residents.”
The MD told the committee that they were enhancing exports through the manufacturing industry thus contributing to the governments Big Four Agenda.
This statement did not augur well with members of the committee who felt the safety of Kenyans came first.
Chachu Ganya (North Horr), Charles Were (Kasipul Kabondo) and Hilary Kosgei (Kipkelion West) told the lawyer to focus on the critical questions that had been raised.
“The health of Kenyan citizens is more important than the billions of shillings being brought into the country. We cannot compromise on that,” said Sophia Noor (Garissa).
The committee said it would visit the company’s premise to establish whether it has adhered to environmental regulations.
Oloo however challenged it by suggesting that it tables recommendations on the way forward.
Kareke told London Distillers that it was important to co-exist with the residents since they had already settled on the piece of land.
“The fact is that there is environmental pollution. What is important is that you find a way of co-existing with the residents and employ best practices to curb poisonous emissions,” he said