The High Court has ordered a factory in Murang to cease operations after residents complained it was polluting the environment by emitting a foul smell and making unbearable noise.
Justice Lucy Gacheru ordered the Afrimac Nut Company, which makes charcoal briquettes from macadamia husks, to stop operations, stating that the residents, including veteran lawyer David Mereka, have a right to a clean environment.
The judge said evidence presented before her showed that the environmental impact assessment report from the National Management Authority Nema and the license to operate the factory were obtained without public participation.
The court finds and holds that the plaintiffs' right to clean and healthy environment was infringed and the plaintiffs need protection, and the plaintiffs need protection, according to the judge.
Justice Gacheru canceled the licence, saying that Mereka and the residents of Nginda in Murang a South had proved that there was a breach of a clean and healthy environment.
The company, which started operations in May 2019, was sued by the lawyer and John Mbote, arguing that their rights to a clean environment were being threatened.
The plant produces excessive smoke with an acrid smell and unbearable noise, according to the lawyer. He said that their complaints to the Nema offices had been ignored. The lawyer said the company did not get a change of use to operate the factory and if it was illegally acquired.
Mr Mbote said the plant was operational for 24 hours and neighbours complained of noise and that it had caused the deaths of livestock and children with persistent coughs.
The company said it was lawfully set up the project and followed due process by obtaining approvals from relevant agencies and conducting public participation.
The court heard that a manufacturer s defects on one of the machines were the cause of the emissions, but it has since been rectified. Nema said it issued the licence based on submissions from Mazingira Engineering Consultants Ltd that were assessed on behalf of the factory owner.
The court finds that the plaintiffs have proved their case on the required standard that they were indeed a breach of their right to a clean and healthy environment, based on the available evidence and submissions thereon.