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Kenya: Locals claim lethal dust from Motrex company causing deaths & respiratory complications, company denies allegations

Author: Ernest Cornel, The Star (Kenya), Published on: 13 August 2018

 "Lethal dust? Mombasa factory on the spot after 10 locals die"

In a classic case of blessing turned curse, a business venture formed to create jobs, eradicate poverty and lift the living standards of shantytown dwellers in Mombasa has instead been linked to pollution, sickness and more than 10 deaths. For eight years, residents of the Kambodia Kikaangoni ghetto in Mikindani have inhaled clinker dust spewed by Motrext Transporters Limited. Motrex hosts Corrugated Sheets Ltd, which loads and offloads clinker for transportation….

More than 10 people from this slum have died of suspected clinker poisoning since the storage started in 2010…Dozens of residents have also been hospitalised and a costly treatment is ongoing. The breathing of some is so laboured. Additionally, over 3,000 lives of these residents are at risk of more poisoning, as the company steps up clinker storage. Students are losing about three weeks of learning every term due to sickness linked to the dust. Churches have limited number of services because they cannot withstand the filth. Rage is mounting and a petition is being signed to have the companies relocated. Fredrick Ojiro, a community human rights activist and a researcher, is petitioning the closure of the companies. Unlike other similar cases, no class-action lawsuit has been initiated yet…

Motrex, however, has denied causing the deaths, injuries or sickness…Motrex has denied clinker dust emanating from their sheds is causing deaths or even sickness, citing lack of proof. It called for another “detailed” test…Motrex claimed all regulations have been adhered to, saying parties with sinister motives are targeting them. However, Motrex did not dispute emission of clinker dust. General manager Islam Saleh said they are responsible for emission of the dust, which he nonetheless claimed is not harmful. “As a host, we are partly responsible [for emission]…The GM said if the dust was harmful, his company would have been the first casualty. “None of my 607 staff has died, nor had a health complication,” he said.

 

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