Why locals are opposed to GDC’s project

Residents of Ol-rongai and Kabazi wards of Rongai and Subukia constituencies respectively have opposed the proposed Phase 2 of Geothermal Development Company project at Tulbowmoi area.

The irate residents told National Environment Management Authority-NEMA that they are against the project due to numerous negative environmental impacts to them.

The locals led by Timothy Ng’etich cited air pollution, health hazards and displacement of over 30,000 locals as the main reason they are against the project.

They also GDC for coming up with Environmental Assessment Impact report which was submitted to NEMA yet there was no public participation.

“We are against this project for several reasons among them pollution, health hazards and displacement of people. We are not ready for such.

They spoke during a Friday meeting with a team from NEMA at Tulbowmoi primary school, Ol-rongai.

During the heated meeting chaired by Nakuru North Deputy County Commissioner Geoffrey Mayama on behalf of Nakuru County Commissioner Erastus Mbui, the locals voiced their opposition to a secret plan by GDC and Sosian energy Company to displace over 30,000 locals from their farms to pave way for exploration of geothermal in the area.

The locals had petitioned NEMA after an impact assessment report showed harmful effects of the planned activities.

Area leaders led by Kabazi MCA Dr.Peter Mbae, Rongai Politician Kibet Komen,Nominated MP Sammy Seroney and Subukia MP Samuel Gachobe also stood with the locals’ position that the project cannot go on.

MCA Mbae noted that the people of Menengai have suffered for many years with the GDC projects in the caldera hence they cannot allow more suffering.

He added that as leaders they cannot be compromised at the expense of the lives of the locals.

“The only thing as leaders we can do is to ensure the lives of our people are well taken care of. We cannot accept any project that has health hazards on the people and that is why we are saying no to this project” said Mbae.

Sentiments echoed by Komen who faulted GDC and Sosian Energy Company for not following the right procedure as far as the project is concerned.

He said the Geothermal Company has an apology to render to the people of Ol-rongai.

“We cannot participate in a public participation where GDC is a party. We have a great case with GDC and we want them to have a day with us and ask for forgiveness.

Subukia MP Samuel Gachobe on his part reiterated that no any day did GDC involve opinion leaders as well as locals in the proposed project.

“No opinion leader was invited and we cannot allow GDC to come and make our people suffer for the sake of project” said Gachobe.

Nominated MP Sammy Seroney warned GDC that if the law on public participation was not adhered to then he shall be launching a legal battle.

He refuted claims that there was an impact assessment study for the claimed proposed wells for exploration est.

“ The project should be subjected to public participation as required by the law failure to which the locals have a right to recall the same” he said.

GDC Regional Manager Paul Ngugi had a difficult time in addressing the locals who had made up their mind that the project will not go on due to the negative impacts it has to them.

It had to have the interventions of the National NEMA officials led by Marion Kioko from Environmental Assessment Impact Unit.

Ms Kioko assured the locals that their views had been noted in the minutes and that a report will be compiled either in support of the project or otherwise.

She was however quick to note that the Proposed Geothermal project is yet to be licensed as there are several steps before issuance of license.

“As NEMA we want to assure residents that the right procedure will be followed and from today’s meeting a report shall be compiled based on your views before action is taken” said Ms Kioko.

MP Arama intervenes for the re-opening of Barut quarry


Locals in Barut,Nakuru West sub county have a reason  to smile after area MP Samuel Arama intervened for the re-opening of Barut sand harvesting quarry.

The quarry that  was closed for some time after a section of residents raised environmental concerns will now be operational.

According to National Environmental Management Authority-NEMA,for any quarry to operate it must meet all the requirements.

The requirements include; operation license, perimeter fence and a record of all workers.

According to MP Arama,there has been several  discussions on the reopening of the Quarry for sand harvesting and the minimum requirements for the process.

Arama was speaking at Barut on Monday.

He said the move to re-open the quarry was informed by the fact that over 500 families that depended on the quarry were suffering due to the closure.

“The harvesting of sand is the economic powerhouse for the locals in this area and that is why we have pushed to have the quarry re-open” said Arama.

He added that the Locals  had made their plea to the relevant authority and was given a node.

He reiterated the need for the quarry to meet minimum requirements as per the law.

The MP was accompanied  by area MCA Bett, Deputy County Commissioner Michael Lesimam, NEMA Team led by Benard Obara Environmental and Fred Nabiswa Deputy County Director among other local leaders.

NEMA confirms Mamo Boru Mamo as Director General

Mamo Boru Mamo

The National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) has appointed Mamo Boru Mamo as the new Director-General. His appointment took effect from the 13th of August 2020. Mr Mamo takes over from Professor Geoffrey Wahungu.

Mr Mamo Boru Mamo’s appointment was announced by the Mr John Kunchellah in a press release dated 15th August. John Konchellah is the current chairman of the NEMA Board of management.Momo's Appointment

“On behalf of the Board of Directors of the National Environment Management Authority, I am pleased to announce the appointment of Mr Mamo Boru Mamo as the incoming Director-General of NEMA. The appointment takes effect from 13th August 2020 following a competitive process where he emerged as the top candidate in the interview,” read the release.

Before his appointment, Mamo was on working on the same position on an acting basis since the 23rd of July 2019. His predecessor Geoffrey Wahungu gave up the position after he was arraigned in a Nairobi court over the Ksh.63 billion Arror and Kimwarer dams’ scandal. Wahungu was arrested alongside former Treasury Cabinet Secretary Henry Rotich and 26 other individuals following investigations into the scam.

Mamo has worked with NEMA for the last 16 years rising through the ranks. He holds a Masters in Environmental Education and Bachelor’s of Science from Egerton University. He is currently pursuing a PhD in Climate Change and Sustainability.

Plastic bags ban now reality, comply or face jail term

The ban of plastic bags is now becoming a reality in Nakuru county which has been largely hit by the solid waste management disaster.
A spot check in some of the supermarkets in Nakuru have embraced the alternative means of packaging shopping (biodegradable plastics) for their customers so as to comply with the ban which takes effect as from this Monday.
The ban however comes with its both positive and negative impacts on the economy with some plastic carrier bags sellers now saying life will be difficult.
‘Kibonge’- a business person in Nakuru town Market who has been selling the plastic bags for more than two years now says his business is doomed with the ban and that his life will never be same.
“I have been selling the plastic paper bags for so long and with the ban then my life is now doomed”he said.
His sentiments echoed by Margaret Wairimu Mungai who is now in the business of selling carrier sacks within Nakuru Town Market.
According to her,the business is okay but put in the shoes of the plastic paper bags vendors then many youths will go jobless.
Wairimu adds that this will impact negatively in the society as it means most youths who have been vending the polythene bags will be rendered jobless and might switch to criminal activities.
“My business of selling these sacks is not bad off but then for those youths who have been in the business of this plastic bags then the ban,it means they will be jobless and this might lead to more crimes in society”she said.
Butcher people who have been relying on the plastic bags to wrap meat for their customers are also lamenting over the ban.
They say even thought they have complied and using khaki papers to wrap the meat for their customers it has negative impact with the meat at times sticking to the paper.
“As much as we have complied and we are now using the khaki papers,the sticking aspect of the meat with the papers.The huge fine has just made us to comply”said one of the butcher in Nakuru Town.
However, Eliud Ndung’u a resident of Nakuru town commended the government over the ban on plastic bags.
He said the polythene bags have been of major negative impact on the environment with Nakuru having felt it in terms of waste disposal management.
“I must commend the government for the ban on plastic bags despite challenges here and there but we have just to comply”said Ndung’u.
This even as governors on Sunday supported the directive, saying it will yield a clean environment.
According to the Council of Governors chair Josphat Nanok , the county bosses will work with the Ministry of Environment to enforce the ban in devolved units.
The council urged Kenyans to use alternative bags such as the Manila paper, canvas, jute and biodegradable plastics.
It will be recalled, Environment Cabinet Secretary Judi Wakhungu announced the ban on the use, manufacture and importation of plastic bags on February 28 this year.
A fine of Sh4m or jail term of four years will be imposed on anyone found with plastic bag as from August 28th 2017.
PHOTO:Margaret Wairimu displays some of the alternative to plastic carrier bags at the Nakuru Town Market.

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