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Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Dangers Associated with Environmental Pollution

The natural environment is composed of all living and non-living things occurring naturally on Earth or some region thereof. The concept of the natural environment can be distinguished by components:
·         Complete ecological units that function as natural systems without massive human intervention, including all vegetation, microorganisms, soil, rocks, atmosphere and natural phenomena that occur within their boundaries.

·         Universal natural resources and physical phenomena that lack clear-cut boundaries, such as air, water, and climate, as well as energy, radiation, electric charge, and magnetism, not originating from human activity.
The natural environment is contrasted with the built environment, which comprises the areas and components that are strongly influenced by humans. A geographical area is regarded as a natural environment, if the human impact on it is kept under a certain limited level.
Environmental pollution
Pollution is the introduction of contaminants into an environment that causes instability, disorder, harm or discomfort to the ecosystem i.e. physical systems or living organisms. Pollution can take the form of chemical substances or energy, such as noise, heat, or light. Pollutants, the elements of pollution, can be foreign substances or energies, or naturally occurring; when naturally occurring, they are considered contaminants when they exceed natural levels. Pollution is often classed as point source or nonpoint source pollution. In the late industrial age, the term overpollution was common, representing a view that was both critical of industrial pollution, but likewise accepted a certain degree of pollution as nominal industrial practice.
Air Pollutant
Pollutants come from many different sources and enter the air in a variety of ways. air pollutants can take many forms, sources of air pollution range from fumes to dust particles. Many industries emit both fumes and dust. Some the fumes released from these industries are not harmful to the population but most of the emissions have detrimental effects on the health of the surrounding population. Industrial emissions are governed and regulated but both local and global legislations, these legislations were enacted to protect the populations that live around the industrial set ups.
Jipe Moyo Company Ltd
Jipe Moyo is a paper manufacturing company situated in Jipe Moyo town in the Western Part of Kenya that was established in 1974: Jipe Moyo Paper Mills spread sickness through emission of harmful fumes into the atmosphere. Pump production involves avariety of processes that uses a lot of water and consequently large amount of effluence is discharged from the industry. Along side the waste water that is disposed off from the company  are dust and fumes that find their way into the atmosphere.
From the start, despite the potential environmental impacts concerning plantation establishment, liquid effluents, air emissions, sludge and solid waste disposal, the project did not benefit from a full environmental assessment. The IFC’s Environmental Review Summary simply stated that the project was designed to meet all applicable World Bank policies, and environmental, health and safety guidelines.
However, fears have proved right. A report from the local newspaper East African Standard denounced recently that local residents had accused the paper mill of having turned a vast area of countryside into an environmental wasteland and of being an economic and social burden. Pollution of the surrounding rivers on which residents depend for their water needs was so severe that bathing in the river had become a health hazard and animals drinking the water died. As a result of the chemical fumes produced during pulping, the area around the mill was enveloped in foul smelling air. Acid fumes and fly ash were resulting in the corrosion of the corrugated iron roofs of the houses in the vicinity of the mill.
At the time of the establishment of the mill, the  used to be a heavily forested region and formed part of an Indigenous Forest. The mill’s demand for wood had turned the area barren and the company trucks now had to travel for over one hundred miles for raw material.
In the recent past, the mill's impacts continued unabated. People around this area complained that the smell emanating from the mill, mainly caustic, chlorine and sulphuric acid was hazardous. The area is now viewed as a “sick country side”.
On the other hand, logging has been a major cause of destruction of the forests of Kenya, a country of environmental and ethnic diversity. The vast area that was previously forested was believed to be a source of air purification in the area and also in other sections of the country. Most of the area surrounding the factory are inhabitable and also not cultivatable to the tremendous effects of atmospheric pollution.
To solve the current environmental challenges, the following recommendations should be implemented;
·         Proper disposal of industrial wastes; industrial wastes, both liquid and gaseous should be disposed off properly to avoid creation of hazardous environment around the company.
·         The company should invest is better machinery that will help in air and water treatment before they are released into the environment and atmosphere respectively.
·         Old and warn-out pumps and machines should be upgraded or replaced all together to improve on machine efficiency and output.
·         Resettlement of the surrounding population. People living near the company should be relocated to reduce the negative effects that emanate from the company. Many people fall ill due to the effluence and emission released from the company. Giving them alternative residential areas will enable the company to operate freely without human health interference.
·         Creating awareness to the employees and the local population on the dangers associated with consumption was untreated water. They should also be discouraged from bathing in the rivers and eating of uncleaned raw foods.
The management should make special arrangements to ensure that the laws passed by the government are restrictly followed by the employees to enhance the correct way of wastes disposal thus avoiding pollution of the environment,
Laws governing environmental pollution
 Environmental Policy, Legal and Institutional Framework governing
Environmental Management in Kenya
Kenya’s environmental policy and legislation are scattered in a multiplicity of resource
and sector specific laws and policy papers. The institutions and departments that deal
with environmental issues are equally numerous. Sector specific laws are deficient in that
they are characterized by fragmented and uncoordinated sectoral legal regimes that are
developed to facilitate resource allocation and to deal with environmentally adverse
effects of resource exploitation. The sectoral institutions under these laws often find
themselves in regulatory competition.
Constitution of Kenya
The Constitution of Kenya in spite of being the supreme law of the land does not contain
specific provisions regarding the environment. The right to life guaranteed by the
Constitution can be interpreted to include the right to a clean and healthy environment.
Environmental Management and Coordination Act of 1999 (EMCA)
The Environmental Management and Coordination Act of 1999 (EMCA) was enacted to
provide an appropriate legal and institutional framework for the management of the
environmental and for matters connected therewith and incidental thereto. EMCA does
not repeal the sectoral legislation but seeks to coordinate the activities of the various
institutions tasked to regulate the various sectors. These institutions are referred to as
Lead Agencies in EMCA.
Institutions under EMCA
National Environmental Council (NEC)
The National Environment Council (NEC) is established under Section 4 of EMCA. NEC which is chaired by the Minister in charge of the environment, is the highest policy making body under EMCA. NEC is responsible for policy formulation and directions for purposes of EMCA. NEC sets national goals and objectives and promotes cooperation among both public and private organisations engaged in environmental protection programmes.
The National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA)
The National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) is established under  EMCA. NEMA is the principal Government institution charged with the overall supervision and co-ordination over all matters relating to the environment as well as implementation of all policies relating to the environment. NEMA is responsible for dealing with EIA. NEMA has to date considerably developed its human and other resource capacity to enable it coordinate the environmental management activities of Lead Agencies.
Provincial and District Environment Committees
According to EMCA governance principles, the Minister shall by notice in the gazette appoint Provincial and District Environment Committees of NEMA in respect of every province and district respectively. These committees assist NEMA in effectively carrying out its function of proper management of the environment at these levels. It is instructive to note that the membership of these committees include inter alia representatives of farmers or pastoralists, business community, women and youth.
Public Complaints Committee (PCC)
The Public Complaints Committee is established under Section 31 of EMCA. The PCC is concerned with the investigation of complaints relating to environmental damage and degradation generally. The PCC has powers to investigate complaints against any person or even against NEMA or on its own motion investigate any suspected case of environmental regradation. The PCC is required by law to submit reports of its findings and recommendations to NEC. The law however is weak in that it does not provide PCC with the mandate to see its recommendations carried through. Further, NEC is not specifically required to do anything with
regard to the reports submitted by the PCC and will often note and adopt the same without any further follow up action. So far the PCC has experienced challenges such as failure to honour summons, hostility between parties, hostility directed at PCC investigators, lack of understanding of EMCA and abdication of duty by Lead Agencies.
Standards and Enforcement Review Committee
The Standards and Enforcement Review Committee (SERC) is a committee of NEMA and is established under the laws of EMCA. This is a technical Committee responsible for formulation of environmental standards, methods of analysis, inspection, monitoring and technical advice on necessary mitigation measures. The Permanent Secretary under the Minister is the Chairman of the Standard and Enforcement Review Committee.
The members of the SERC are set out in the third schedule to EMCA. They consist of representatives of various relevant government ministries and parastatals that are Lead Agencies as well as those responsible for matters such as economic planning and national development, finance, labour, public works, law and law enforcement, etc. Other members are drawn from public universities, and other government institutions.
Jipe moyo company is an important economic pillar in this region. It has employed many local eople to work in the factories and also in the palntations. However, alongside its benefits are ar reaching effects both to the terrestrial and the marine life.  People are falling ill more often in this area that it used to be three decades ago. Farms are nolonger productive as they used to be and the population is currently dependent on foods grown in other parts of the country.
The benefits that were brought by the introduction of the company have been overshadowed by the detrimental consequences that arrived with the company. Many people living around this area would rather live without the company than get employed here and end up loosing their flocks and siblings to the effects brought about by the company.
The government should follow legislation put in place to protect the local population against exploitation by the industrialists. There enough legislations and laws that govern the industry but they have never been enforced and thus a large part of the population is suffering the consequences of poor management and negligence.

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