OMUTHIYA – Residents of Omadhiya, on the outskirts of Omuthiya, have registered several complaints against the local authority over the pollution caused by burning waste at the local landfill.
According to residents, a blanket of smoke covers the dumping ground almost every day, adding they were worried about the harmful effects of the fumes on humans, crops and livestock.
Last week, a fire at the dumping site had to be extinguished after members of the public complained to the town council.
On Wednesday last week, the community held a meeting with the council – in which, according to the acting Omuthiya CEO Simon Nghuulondo, it was agreed waste will be allowed to pile up and only burn every after two weeks to avoid such pollution.
Local resident Richard Gideon, at around 23h00 on Wednesday last week, informed New Era there was a dark cloud of smoke, and that it has been the situation the entire day.
“We have been complaining about this dumpsite for a year; the pollution is just too much. Now and then, we suffer from flu, cough and breathing problems, but nothing seems to change,” fumed Gideon.
They further pleaded with council to burn waste early morning so that the situation is calm by sunset.
“Else, we can’t sleep and there are things that always blow up, and we are not too sure what it is – whether it is harmful gas cylinders or other toxic products,” he added.
On the other hand, Nghuulondo acknowledged the concerns around the dumpsite, saying council is busy lobbying for funds to compensate households surrounding the landfill so that they can steer clear of the area.
In addition, he said, this is a temporary site and it will be shut off in the near future, pending availability of funds.
In 2017, council announced plans to relocate the dumpsite west of Omuthiya on the Okankororosa road, but this did not materialise, as council could not compensate residents already living in the vicinity.
“We have not received funds in the past three financial years for compensation, but we are trying hard to obtain a reasonable budget from central government. Once that is secured, those households living in proximity of the current site will be prioritised in compensation, while we look forward to permanently shut it down and reopen at another site,” he said.