Residents of Liwatoni area in the coastal city of Mombasa are up in arms against dust emissions from marine logistics firm Comarco group which has a private port in the neighborhood.
The residents led by Sheikh Hassan Omar of the Council of Imams and Preachers of Kenya (CIPK) said they were planning to hold peaceful demonstrations against the company but one of the organizers was arrested by police.
An agitated Sheikh Omar said Mohamed Wahid who was preparing to lead a peaceful demo on Friday was summoned by the police and warned against going ahead with the protests.
The religious leader said iron and clinker lime dust levels are so bad that residents have decided to hold a series of peaceful protests to draw the attention of relevant authorities to the problem.
Sheikh Omar addressed journalists after accompanying Wahid to the urban police station to record a statement over the planned resident protests.
The cleric who leads prayers at the Liwatoni mosque in the sprawling area said the continued activities of the company has exposed residents to ailments and that many people were now relocating from the area.
“The operation of Comarco has led to much sickness in the area and people are now leaving the place in droves” he said adding the worst affected are those who live in close proximity to the private port.
[An arial view of the Cormaco group Company limited at Liwatoni, Mombasa. Photo/Ahmed Omar].
He said the increased air pollution and deafening noise were causing people in the vicinity severe ill health and called for its relocation.
Wahid said residents were not worried about the repercussions of speaking out as there numerous complaints against the dust to the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) fell on deaf ears.
“It’s horrific we have lived with the dust and noise from the company for many years but now it’s getting worse and we can’t keep quiet anymore” he said saying he lived in the area for the last 40 years.
Wahid noted that he will never be cowed by police harassment but will continue to lead residents in speaking out against the company that is dealing in iron ore in large scale.