Environmental PS On The Spot Over Pollution Report

The Environment and Natural Resources Principal Secretary Ms. Betty Maina is on the spot over a report on Environmental Pollution by a leading Liquor manufacturer, adopted by The National Assembly nearly two years ago. Even though the report warned of dire consequences to the liquor manufacturer, it is yet to be implemented two years later.
According to reliable sources, accusing fingers are being pointed to Ms. Betty Maina, the Principal Secretary, Environment and Natural Resources for hindering the implementation.

The report was a result of an inquiry into complaints of Environmental Pollution by London Distillers Kenya Limited. The complaints had been raised by Erdemann Property Limited on behalf of residents of and workers in Great Wall Gardens estate located in Athi River area of Mavoko Sub-County, Machakos County. Issues raised regarded environmental pollution through tocic fumes and effluent from the distiller which negatively affected the lives of the larger Athi River area.

The objective of the enquiry was to establish the extend of environmental pollution by London Distillers Kenya Limited and therefore recommend stringent measures that will ensure environmental protection, conservation and mitigation for the benefit of the residents.

Before this, the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) through a letter dated 6th February 2017 had written to London Distillers Kenya Limited ordering a closure of the company. This was after the company had failed to comply with improvement orders issued to them on 6th May, 21st July and 8th september 2016. Despite this London Distillers were yet to reduce the environmental pollution a year later. However the distillery reopened therefore there was need to scrutinize the relationship between NEMA and London Distillers.

Environment and Natural Resources Principal Secretary Ms. Betty Maina. PHOTO/Courtesy

Sources have that PS. Betty Maina’s relationship and interest in London Distillers has been the main obstacle in implementation of the report’s recommendations. Her relation with the liquor manufacturer stemmed from when she was Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) in 2015. She has always had close ties with the company up to her appointment as Principal Secretary for East African Community and subsequently PS Environment and Natural Resources Ministries.

Even as Parliament reopens on 16th January 2020, there is little hope of implementation of the report even as families in the area stare at risks of long term health complications due to the pollution. The area residents are in the dark on when if at all, the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) will ensure that the distillery will implement the recommendations since as things look at the moment, nothing would be possible as long as the Principal Secretary is at the helm.
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