OMUTHIYA - The Omuthiya Town Council and the local community have locked horns over the existence of a dumpsite.
Residents claim the site is a health hazard, with adverse effects on the surrounding environment. The landfill has been a bone of contention over the years. The affected community has accused council of dragging its feet in remedying the situation.
To that, aggrieved residents are demanding the town council relocate the dumpsite or risk have it shut down. The local authority is, however, adamant the dumpsite will not be moved to another location, saying residents in the surrounding area will be compensated, so that no households will be within the vicinity.
“We have suffered for many years, despite having raised our concerns regarding the air pollution from the dumpsite, but it seems our cries are landing on deaf ears,” fumed a resident of Omadhiya B, Richard Gideon, who claims he lost five cattle in 2017 as result of toxic fumes.
“Our children are continuously having flu because of toxic fumes from there, while on the other hand, our animals are dying as they feast on waste from the dumpsite that scatter around.”
Gideon claimed the town council continues to burn waste after 17h00. “This is despite having promised to burn waste in the morning and extinguish it before the end of business. We are tired of this never changing situation. We will soon go and lock that dumpsite until they relocate it or rectify their mistakes, because when we tell them, they laugh,” vowed Gideon.
In 2018, the town council said it would relocate the dumpsite to the western side of the town. However, such a decision has been reversed. According to mayor John Ndeutepo, the proposed sites were found not to be suitable due to high volumes of water flow. Another resident, David Uusiku suggested the town council should at least consider recycling waste instead of burning it.
“We are waiting for the Covid-19 health protocols to be lifted so that we can have a serious meeting with council in addressing this matter. The smoke is affecting the entire community as it goes kilometres away from the dumpsite. Council should also find experts to help them identify another site far away from people,” stressed Uusiku.
Ndeutepo said council has already received an environmental clearance certificate for the current dumpsite, therefore, it will not be relocating it. “Burning of waste is a temporary thing while we are working on a long-term plan of an eco-friendly environment. We will not burn forever,” he said. “About three households are being evaluated for compensation, so the process has begun hence there will be no households, neither will those bordering the town be affected once the plan is implemented. The area was deemed fit because there is a burrow where sand mining will be conducted, including gravel excavation. So, all this is part of a bigger plan, so that the whole area at the same time be rehabilitated.”