Machakos County Governor Alfred Mutua has ordered the immediate closure of Endmor Steel Mills, following numerous complaints of pollution by Syokimau residents.
The residents’ grievances attracted media attention, which resulted in a local TV station’s expose, showing the health hazards caused by the factory.
In the expose, one local alleged that his child died due to pollution from the Endmor Steel Mills factory.
In a statement on Monday, July 13, the county boss noted that the pollution is a great risk to the locals, especially during this Covid-19 pandemic period.
He further said that his government had reached the decision to suspend the business license for the said factory until measures recommended are dealt with, in order to safeguard the health of the county residents.
Mutua said that people whose respiratory systems are being affected by the pollution are rendered in more danger during this challenging time of the pandemic.
The factory will only resume its operations after the occupational Health, and Safety Standards and protocols are put in place to the satisfaction of the National Environment Management Authority(NEMA) and the Machakos County Government.
The company will also be required to provide adequate standard KN 95 masks to all its employees before production is recommenced.
The governor said the company also has to ensure strict adherence to Covid-19 preventive measures of social distancing, hand washing, wearing on face masks, and daily recording of temperatures.
Residents complained that the factory would make children wake up at night sneezing and struggling to breathe.
Over time, households reported thick and sticky residue with a strong, pungent smell on windows and doors.
According to the residents, the wet smoke residue is difficult to be cleaned as it smears easily.
Syokimau Residents Association representative John Mutinda told journalists that the smoke had made the neighborhood inhabitable, with many residents selling their property and leaving the estate.
Endmor Steels Millers Limited is a metal smelting company that was built in 2013 in Syokimau.