Mandera County sued over dumpsite

Mandera Governor Ali Roba

Mandera Governor Ali Roba.

Photo credit: File | Nation Media Group

An Environment and Land Court has issued temporary conservatory orders of injunction stopping the County Government of Mandera from dumping garbage at Garbaqoley dumpsite.

This is after Mr Abraham Abdi Mohamed, a resident moved to court accusing the Governor Ali Roba’s administration of infringing on Garbaqoley resident’s right to a clean and healthy environment.

This comes barely two weeks after the Mandera County Government was ordered to pay a section of local communities Sh40 million for illegally eviction.

On April 20, The Environment and Land Court in Garissa ordered the Mandera County government to pay two communities a total of Sh40 million as compensation for rights violations and loss of property during forceful eviction.

The Court also declared that the eviction of residents of the Neboi and Garbaqoley communities by county authorities under the supervision of police officers was unlawful and illegal.

Justice Enoch Cherono ordered that each of the two communities in Mandera East sub-county be paid Sh20 million in compensation.

In the petition filed in Garissa, Mr Mohamed argues that the continued dumping of waste at the Garbaqoley dumpsite is a health risk.

“Garbaqoley land is not a designated dumpsite and therefore poses serious health risk and hazards to the local residents by polluting the environment,” he stated in the petition.

He argues that the county government of Mandera is violating the right of the residents of Garbaqoley to a clean and healthy environment.

He also urged the court to stop usage of a slaughterhouse in Mandera town on grounds that it is incomplete and is a health risk to the residents.

Other respondents in the matter include Mandera Water and Sewerage Company (MANDWASCO) The county’s ministry of roads and public works, Mandera town municipality while National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) is listed as an interested party.

In an affidavit, Mr Mohamed said for the past four years the Mandera County government has encroached, trespassed and illegally begun dumping, scattering and or throwing wastes and hazardous substances in Garbaqoley area.

“Dumping of the waste in the area that is community land has caused environment pollution,” he said.

He said the area now has a foul smell due to continued dumping and burning of waste products.

On the slaughter house, the petitioner said the county government has failed to ensure the contractor complied to all legal requirements during construction.

In January, the county government formed a taskforce to assess the health risks posed by the two facilities after public outcry.

The taskforce chaired by Mr Okash Abdullahi Adan, the head of the county’s efficiency monitoring unit, concluded that both facilities were of poor standards.

“The slaughter house does not meet the public health requirements and contravenes the right to a clean and healthy environment,” the taskforce observed.

The same taskforce observed that the Garbaqoley was not a designated dumpsite since it had not been approved by the relevant authorities.

“There is no segregation of waste at the dumpsite and it is situated in a surface runoff area that channels rain water into River Daua causing water pollution,” the taskforce said. It recommended immediate licensing of the dumpsite.

The matter before the court is set for inter-party hearing on May 26 but the Mandera county government is yet to respond to the petition.

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