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Kenya: churches protest against deadly dumpsite

 Peaceful demonstrators in a Nairobi suburb braved attacks by marauding gangs and went ahead to demand the relocation of a dumpsite that threatens the health and security of close to a million people. Hundreds of residents chanting slogans and waving placards marched in Dandora, in Nairobi's Eastlands, on Saturday, 1 October calling on the government and the City Council of Nairobi to relocate the dumpsite. The city's Provincial Medical Officer of Health declared it a public health hazard in March 2005. The demonstration was organised by the Dandora Church Community (DCC), an ecumenical group, which said that, though the dumpsite was declared full five years ago, it continued to receive over 1,500 tonnes of solid waste produced in Nairobi daily, endangering the lives of over 700 000 residents. "Years of uncontrolled and indiscriminate dumping at Dandora have given rise to mountains of industrial, medical and domestic waste for which no action has been taken other than incessant and reckless burning that leaves clouds of noxious fumes permanently hovering over the adjacent neighbourhoods," the DCC said in a statement to the press. Chickens, pigs, goats, dogs and cats from nearby homes roam the dumpsite. Recent studies show that meat, eggs and vegetables eaten in the area are hazardous due to high levels of pollution. Children at schools on the edge of the dumpsite are particularly at risk. The site is also a major den of the city's vicious criminals, the DCC said. Earlier, the peaceful march turned violent when gangs of youths living in the dumpsite pelted the demonstrators with stones and bottles. Tension remained high for over two hours as police fired in the air and battled the youths, who regrouped and ambushed the determined demonstrators. The DCC blamed the violence on police inaction, saying Dandora Police Post ignored their request to provide the demonstrators with security. "We asked the police to accompany us. We waited for them from 8.30am but they did not turn up. They only came at 11am when we were first attacked," Fr Daniel Moschetti MCCJ said. Source: CISA