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Bamburi Cement coal operations temporarily suspended

Mombasa Deputy Governor, Francis Thoya, briefs the press after an inspection tour of the Bamburi Cement Factory.

The County Government of Mombasa has temporarily suspended Bamburi Cement coal operations, to ensure the safety of its neighbouring residents.

The decision came after a comprehensive site inspection conducted by Deputy Governor (DG), Francis Thoya and the officials from the Environment Department, Public Health, and National Environment Management Authority (NEMA).

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The Deputy Governor called for immediate action, urging Bamburi Cement to formulate effective mitigation plans, to combat the coal dust problem. He has forcefully ordered the immediate cessation of coal operations in the Company and instructed them to devise methods to store or cover exposed coal.

He further noted that residents of Mombasa County, particularly those residing in Kadzandani and Bamburi, have been raising their concerns to the government regarding a persisting issue of dark dust infiltrating their homes for the last month.

The unsettling situation has not only resulted in persistent coughing among the affected residents but has also disrupted their sleep patterns, leaving them restless at night. 

Hence, after conducting a thorough investigation, the County Government of Mombasa, in collaboration with the public health sector, it was revealed that Bamburi Cement has been bringing in coal and not storing it in a proper warehouse.

Instead, the coal has been left exposed in an open area, leading to the release of dark dust that has been infiltrating nearby homes. The irresponsible storage practice has been identified as the primary cause of the persistent dust problem affecting the residents of Kadzandani and Bamburi.

The decision was made to ensure the safety and well-being of the residents affected by the persistent dust issue. The County Government has directed that Bamburi Cement must establish a proper storage facility for their coal before resuming its coal operations.

“It’s stipulated in law that for any company to handle coal it’s required to have an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) license because through that license one can explain in detail how they will mitigate the potential dangers and impacts associated with coal,” said Thoya.

“The County Government does not have any plans of preventing investors from investing, we are here to protect the residents from the dangers of coal.” The DG further said it’s the government’s duty as stipulated in the constitution to ensure its citizens have access to a clean and healthy environment.

However, Bamburi Cement in its position statement stated unprecedented winds during coal storage operations at the plant led to the spread of the coal. “In collaboration with the County Government of Mombasa, we have voluntarily suspended certain activities, implementing additional measures and forming a cross-functional committee. In our commitment to compliance, we are conducting thorough reviews, enhancing community engagement, and maintaining normal operations,” reads Bamburi Cement’s position statement.

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