Caution as Train spills palm oil into river Kambu in Makueni

Written By: Hunja Macharia/Jonathan Mutiso
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Water Resources Authority (WRA) has cautioned people living along River Kambu in Makueni County against using its water after a train spilled 750, 000 litres of palm oil in the region.

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The seasonal river which drains into River Athi is the main source of water for domestic use and irrigation in the region.

“Following a cargo train accident that spilled unprocessed cooking oil in River Kambu, members of the public are cautioned against using water from the river for domestic, livestock and agricultural purposes until further notice,” says the notice signed by WRA manager in charge of the Middle Athi region Ngao Munyao.

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“The caution covers the section of the river adjacent to Kamulalani-Kalimani market road downstream”.

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The water agency pasted the notice on strategic points in local markets Thursday, two days after the train accident on the old railway line.

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The train hauling 17 tankers towards Nairobi was attempting to climb a gentle hill on Tuesday afternoon when it developed a mechanical problem.

The accident paralyzed movement of locomotives along the Mombasa-Nairobi railway line as technicians from KRC worked round the clock to recover the wagons and repair the damaged section.

Makueni County Assembly Environment Committee chairman Joseph Muema and the chief officer at the department of environment and climate change, Mary Mbenge, warned that the oil has long term harmful effects on the environment.

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Makueni NEMA head Leonard Tampushi called on KRC to cordon off the oil spill site from intruders for safety saying, “We have issued a restoration order to Kenya Railways Corporation. They should move with speed and map out the affected region, clean the mess and develop a monitoring plan.”

Tambushi warned the community against consuming the oil saying it could be harmful to their health.

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