Economy

Court throws out pollution suit against Israeli construction firm

Environment and Land Court
Environment and Land Court. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

The Environment and Land Court has dismissed an application to stop one of the Israeli’s giant construction groups from operating heavy duty machines that are said to be emitting hazardous fumes.

Justice Mary Oundo threw out the application filed by a family in Laikipia West complaining that the construction company, Solel Boneh International Holdings (SBI Holdings), was exposing them to health dangers and harm while operating in their neighbourhood.

Led by Mr Henry Chebii the family sought orders to stop the company from operating a campsite known as Project Campsite No. 269.

The company is undertaking the ongoing maintenance of Marigat Muchongai- Karandi, Ol Ng’arua-Muhotetu junction and Muhotetu–Sipili roads linking Laikipia and Baringo.

In the petition where they named the National Environmental Management Authourity (NEMA) as the second respondent, the family stated that the foreign construction company had established the campsite four metres from their houses.

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The campsite started operations in the year 2018 without engaging the plaintiffs directly, notwithstanding that the suit site was the only place they called home and had no other alternative place to go to. At the campsite the company has heavy duty machines including a tar mixer and bitumen boiler.

Their homes became uninhabitable when the operation of the camp exposed them to health hazards in the form of fumes emitted from a tax mixer and a bitumen boiler.

In their submissions, they told judge Oundo there was also deafening noise from the campsite coupled with a high voltage transformer mounted next to the house of Ms Esther Cheptui.

The transformer had been producing sparks particularly when birds perch on it and which shocked the relative and interfered with their sleep.

While urging for orders directing the company to cease its operations, the family said there was pollution of dust from the campsite which was normally deposited on their houses.

Further, the family testified that a wall located four meters from their house was marked with writings that classified the area as a radiation area.

The perimeter fence had a razor wire marked with a sign reading “caution radiation area.”

Despite not peacefully enjoying their land the family said their cause of action was also based on the tort of nuisance.



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