Illegal radioactive waste disposal

Why would the Kenyan president allow Kenya to host radioactive waste processing facility at Oloolua, located at the institute of primate research in Kajiado district? If the facility is allowed to proceed, Kenyans will without doubt pay dearly just like we have seen it happen recently through media reports where it was revealed that over 500 persons have died as a result of a cancer epidemic in Marsabit County in recent years.

The number is feared to be in the thousands if a wider and thorough investigation is done. In the past two decades, residents of North and Upper Eastern have experienced high numbers of mysterious deaths of people and larger numbers of livestock that they attribute to possible dumping of toxic waste in the area. The deaths could not be attributed to radioactive materials possibly dumped by oil exploration companies.

Now it is undeniable that communities in the Northern region of Kenya go through a tough life. The land they have settled on is dry and can only support a few of the known livestock animals such as camels, donkeys, goats, sheep and cattle. These said communities depend on these animals as a source of food, means of transport and hence a measure of wealth. Their pastoral livelihood which require constant movement from place to place either in search of either pasture, water and flee communities who still practice animal raid on neighboring communities. This hinders children from these communities from attending school because of security, the great distance from the temporary homes to the few learning institution available which also happen to be in no condition to support proper learning.

The parents in these regions opt to have there children stay home where it is safer and can also help with chores such as getting water which always means walking for long distances. Cultural practices such as cattle raids are still being practiced which undoubtedly puts the lives of innocent individual at risk with mothers and children worst hit. Due to the scattered population the availability of police stations for protection and health centers to seek treatment are beyond their reach among many other problems.

With all these daily struggles, why would the government add a nuclear plants to the long list of troubles of these communities? We have already seen dump radioactive waste in their habitat poisoning a commodity so rare and valuable to these people, water. How are the people of Northern Kenya supposed to access treatment or even afford treatment for cancer and other complicated ailments unknown to them after being exposed to the sites this lethal waste is disposed that have been labelled or secluded?

How does radioactive waste buried in the ground affect the water and plants you wonder? Radioactive waste in the ground percolates deep into the soil, with the soil being sandy, the waste quickly reaches the water table rapidly spreading to the water points these communities use for domestic use. The animals die from the poison and persons get ill from both exposure or ingestion of this too. What we have seen is the affected suffer as loved ones look on helplessly and eventually die.

People in Northern need our help to raise awareness and put an end to this injustice. Share, condemn the evil and suggest solutions you think could help find a better way to deal with disposal of radioactive waste taking place. If the government has no news of this I hope they do move swiftly to finding who is responsible for this unlawful and unacceptable activities.



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