Nairobi: churches protest over dumping site

 Churches in Nairobi's Korogocho/ Kariobangi and Dandora slums areas gathered at St John's Catholic Church, Korogocho on Tuesday, to protest about Dandora dumping site, which they claim has negative effects on the lives of the inhabitants. During the occasion, which also included speeches and prayers from various church leaders, human rights activists and church workers, the church leaders handed over their petition to the government, signed by over 7,000 inhabitants through the chairman of the Kenya National Human Rights Commission, Mr Maina Kiai. He promised the inhabitants and the Church in general that he would do his best to have the government pressurized over the removal of the site. And he asked during his speech: Which is easier for the Government, to have this thing removed from here or to continue to treat people affected by its existence in hospitals? Local Catholic priest, Fr Paulino Mondo from Kariobangi Parish observed that an estimated 10,000 deaths, were taking place each month from diseases related to the pollution of the air from this dumping site. "Our simple appeal to the government is to have this site removed from here in order to improve the health of inhabitants," he said. He added that the church was committed to pressurize the Government because people have a right to sound health. Addressing the same gathering, Father-in-Charge of St John's Catholic Church, Korogocho, and Fr Daniele Moschetti observed that the government had totally ignored the cry of the people. He urged all those in the struggle that to support each other in the campaigns, "Together we shall win," he said. Around 700,000 people live in the the shantytown around the Dandora Municipal Dumpsite, which is about 14 km from the city centre. The City Council of Nairobi deposits around 1,500 tonnes of waste daily, causing massive pollution and toxic fumes. One environmentalist, interviewed by this writer, observed that 80% of the waste, dumped at Dandora was solid and could easily be re-cycled and that the rest could be effectively dealt with, using modern technology without much a do. "We are talking of an issue, which is not all that difficult to deal with if the concerned parties, government included, were committed to the solution of the problem, he said.

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