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Owino Uhuru residents awarded Ksh1.3 Billion for Lead poisoning


Residents of Owino Uhuru slum in Mombasa have been awarded a total of Ksh.1.3 billion for lead poisoning from a lead smelting factory.

More than 3,000 people filed the class action suit in 2015, seeking Sh.2 billion damages for death, sickness and damages caused by emissions from the lead smelting factory.

The case was filed in 2015  through the Center for Justice, Governance and Environmental action.

Environment Court judge Ann Omolo on Thursday gave the Cabinet Secretaries for Environment and Health, Nema, Metal Refinery EPZ Ltd, the Export Processing Zone Authority and Penguin Paper and Book Company 90 days to pay the award.

The money will go to the people in Jomvu who either worked for or lived next to the now-closed smelting plant, Metal Refinery EPZ.

The court also said the ministries, agencies and company were liable for death and damages suffered by the residents.

Justice Omolo said Nema would bear the greatest responsibility for damages at 40 per cent. The mental refinery that produced the lead would bear 25 per cent of the damages for negligence.

The two ministries were each found 10 per cent liable while the paper and book company was declared liable for five per cent.

The court absolved Mombasa county from responsibility.

Judge Omolo also directed the state agencies and private companies to clean the soil, water and remove any waste deposited within the settlement within 120 days.