Abandoned quarries in Kisii and Nyamira turn into death traps

Because of regular rainfall in the region, water has collected in most of the quarries.

Photo credit: Ondari Ogega | Nation Media Group

Abandoned quarries in Kisii and Nyamira counties, mostly created by road builders, have turned into death traps.

Some residents jump into them to end their own lives while killers dump bodies there.

Because of regular rainfall in the region, water has collected in most of the quarries.

Some have become health hazards and cave in during heavy rains. To earn money, residents, especially those living near roads being built, authorise the extraction of marram from their land.

Road contractors often do not bother to fill up the holes they make in the process, leaving residents with hazards to deal with.

In Ting’a, on the Kisii-Nyamira road, a quarry formed when the road was built two decades ago is causing nightmares for residents, with people seeking to end their lives finding it suitable for their actions.

Residents say the quarry, on a quarter of an acre, has become a water reservoir and part of it is 10 metres deep.

Those with intentions to take their own life target the deepest end. The shallow side is used as a carwash site and boda boda operators can be seen cleaning their motorcycles there.

Some residents use the water for domestic purposes.

When the Nation stopped at the quarry, some women were washing clothes while others scooped the water in jerricans to take home.

Cattle from adjacent homesteads quench their thirst there while some pupils fetch the water for use in their schools.

Even with the negative effects, some residents say the quarry is useful to them.

The killer quarry, said Titus Nyakundi, needs to be filled up and urged officials to take action.

Found floating in the water

“This quarry has become a health hazard. We have rescued dozens of people here in the recent past who have tried to kill themselves. The good thing is that there are always people around, so when one jumps into the water, we are able to respond quickly and save lives,” he said.

Locals do not have the exact number of people they have rescued, but they say the number of those attempting to end their lives is high.

In February, the body of an unidentified man was found floating in the water.

“We retrieved the body of an unknown person with a string around his neck. The person may have been killed elsewhere and dumped here,” said Richard Anyona

“With murder cases increasing around the country, we do not know if there are more bodies there,”.

Authorities say it was unfortunate that the person whose body was retrieved was not identified.

Residents of Ting’a village accuse the road contractor, who moved from the site 10 years ago, of failing to rehabilitate the quarry.

They want the quarry fenced off to make it safer.

“The people who dug up this place in search of murram left without filling up the huge hole they created,” said Joshua Bogonko.

But even with the negative effects, some residents say the quarry is useful to them.

Some residents jump into them to end their own lives while killers dump bodies there.

Photo credit: Ondari Ogega | Nation Media Group

“The quarry is a blessing in disguise because it has offered self-employment to some residents. Young people keep themselves busy here by cleaning vehicles and boda bodas,” said Risper Nyanchama.

Kisii County Nema official Arnold Ofula said there are dozens of such abandoned quarries in the region that pose a health risk to residents.

He said the environmental watchdog had tracked down some contractors who did not fill up the quarries they created and some cases are in court.

"Before starting a project, contractors must have an environment impact assessment report that shows how the construction site will be handled. But many leave without finalising such plans," he said.

Welcome!

You're all set to enjoy unlimited Prime content.