Street Children Exposed to Dangerous Poisons

CHILDREN PLAY ON GARBAGE DUMP – NARA – 544794 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Street children and the dump sites

The garbage dump sites in the major towns and cities in Kenya are believed to be home for street urchins who would always fight for leftovers.

These dump sites are in some cases not at designated areas but scattered everywhere and in some cases near residential areas.

The street children who are often seen cheering bloody fights between them scuffling for bags of leftovers are always exposed to dangerous and deadly poisons. Such is the life that those living in an around these dump sites are accustomed to. Domestic animals like cows and goats can be seen from time to time feeding on the wastes

A decade ago, some of these toxic landfills in Nairobi were declared to be full and ordered by the health experts to be closed. But to date the site is still receiving wastes.

In the year 2007, a study commissioned by the United Nation Environment Programme  (UNEP), examined the health implications of the dump site on children living close to it and compared soil samples from the sit with another location just outside the city. The study found that about half of the children tested had some concentration of lead in their blood exceeding internationally accepted levels. The soil samples recorded lead levels close to ten times of the safe level.

But even with this worrying results, the dump sites still draw thousands of men women and children everyday in the valleys of the garbage rummaging for recycles and daily bread.

All this happen under the watchful eye of the regulatory body called NEMA – The National Environmental Management Authority.  This is a government agency responsible for exercising autonomous authority over some areas of human activity in a regulatory or supervisory capacity. This body deal in the area of administrative law, regulation or law making – codifying and rules and regulations and imposing supervision or oversight for the benefit of the public at large.

Unfortunately very little or no supervision is done!

The rich mint millions from the filthy dump site

Another factor which keep these dump sites lively is that the wealthy business mint millions of shillings each day from middlemen who go there to collect recycles – plastics, rubber and bottles. These men and women risk their lives to make a few shillings but make the rich richer!

Promises by agencies

Years of visits and promises by Government agencies, NGO’s, development partners and  local and foreign media have done little to change the situation of people living around the dump sites. The regulatory agency does not do any supervision or control.


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