News / Africa

    HRW Finds Toxic Lead Danger in Kenya

    Mombasa, KenyaMombasa, Kenya
    x
    Mombasa, Kenya
    Mombasa, Kenya
    A Human rights organization says thousands of people in a poor district on the outskirts of Mombasa, Kenya, face serious health problems from toxic lead at a former battery recycling plant. The group says at least three workers at the smelter have died and more than 3,000 people are affected by contamination.
     
    As Kenya hosts the first U.N. Environment Assembly attended by global environmentalists, government officials and lobby groups - a community in Kenya’s second largest city, Mombasa, is facing health and economic challenges from poisonous lead.
     
    Speaking in Nairobi, Human Rights Watch senior environment researcher Jane Cohen said a whole community is under threat because Kenyan authorities have not acted to enforce the law.  
     
    “It should not go unnoticed that not far away from Nairobi, the situation in Owino Ohuru Community, which is a tragic example of what happens when economic development is unregulated,” said Cohen.

    Clean-up needed

    At issue is a battery recycling plant that opened in 2007. The New York based Human Rights Watch says the plant closed its operations earlier this year and moved elsewhere, but the lead remains in the community and needs to be cleaned up by the government swiftly.
     
    A former office worker at the plant, Phyllis Omido, started organizing protests and writing to relevant authorities asking to move the plant or shut it down.
     
    She said she started her campaign after her son got sick and doctors confirmed he had lead poisoning, a devastating neurological illness that causes severe developmental problems in small children and broader health concerns in adults.
     
    Omido said her campaign was able to prove the battery plant was the source of the contamination.
     
    "We went to the government laboratory and convinced them to run [tests] on some of the children and we picked them randomly," said Omido. "We could not afford it ,so we took three children randomly from the community all of them tested very high lead levels. And that was in 2009 and we took this to government, the recommendation of the government laboratory that these children were exposed to lead poisoning.”
     
    Human Rights Watch says a government investigation in 2009 found the battery plant had violated regulations. The smelter was briefly shutdown and reopened, but environmental activists say the problems were not addressed.
     
    Former plant workers said they had no protective clothing or gear to deal with the poisonous lead.
     
    Human Rights Watch  notes Kenya has strong environmental laws to protect its citizens, but they need enforcement.

    You May Like

    US Lawmakers Vow to Continue Immigrant Program for Afghan Interpreters

    Congressional inaction threatens funding for effort which began in 2008 and has allowed more than 20,000 interpreters, their family members to immigrate to US

    Brexit's Impact on Russia Stirs Concern

    Some analysts see Brexit aiding Putin's plans to destabilize European politics; others note that an economically unstable Europe is not in Moscow's interests

    US to Train Cambodian Government on Combating Cybercrime

    Concerns raised over drafting of law, as critics fear cybercrime regulations could be used to restrict freedom of expression and stifle political dissent

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: MASAICHIEF from: KENYA
    June 25, 2014 9:49 AM
    IS THAT ALL?!!!!!! THIS IS JUST THE TIP OF THE ICEBERG. IS THERE ANY CASE AGAINST INDIANS WHO OWN SUCH FACTORIES? WILL THEY EVER FACE PROSECUTION? THERE IS A BIGGER PROBLEM. GO TO THIKA AND SEE THOSE TANARIES WHICH ARE BUILT ON THE RIVER BANK, USING WATER FROM THE RIVER AND DUMPING ALL THE USED WATER WHICH CARRIES MERCURY INTO THE RIVER. THIS IS THEN CARRIED DOWN RIVER WHERE MANY USE AS DRINKING WATER OR WATER FOR THEIR PLANTATIONS.

    AND THERE ARE HUNDREDS OF PEOPLE DYING FROM UNKNOWN DISEASES, JUST BECAUSE THE INDIANS HAVE THE OFFICIALS IN THEIR POCKET. SOMETHING THEY WOULD NEVER DO IN THEIR OWN COUNTRY. AND OUR HIGHLY CORRUPTED POLITICIANS AND GOVERNMENTS WILL JUST BRUSH IT ASIDE. AND IF THE CASE IS PERSISTENT, FILES WITH THE CASES CAN JUST GO MISSING FOR A FEW DOLLARS.

    WHEN IS KENYA GOING TO BE A COUNTRY WHERE THE POLITICIANS PROTECT THE CITIZENS. WHEN IS KENYA GOING TO BE A COUNTRY THAT STANDS UP AND SAYS NO TO THOSE WHO BRIBE THEIR WAY INTO OUR COUNTRY. WHEN IS KENYA GOING TO A COUNTRY THAT GOES AFTER PEOPLE WHO KILL KENYANS AS IF THEY ARE NOTHING BUT TRASH TO BE DUMPED INTO A HOLE IN THE GROUND AND FORGOTTEN.

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roari
    X
    June 28, 2016 10:33 AM
    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora