The National Environment Management Authority(NEMA) has ordered the shut down of at least 15 Kiamaiko slaughterhouses.
In a statement sent to newsrooms, NEMA said the abattoirs are the major cause of pollution of Nairobi River. The Environment Authority issued the notice on Monday ordering the closure of the popular market effective Tuesday.
A Nema official, Njoki Mukiri, said the slaughterhouses lack a proper waste management system.
She said the traders were issued with orders in 2015 to vacate the place but have continued to discharge untreated liquid waste into the river.
Njoki noted the operators requested to be allowed a two-year period to buy land elsewhere and put up structures but none of them has relocated.
“They got a site along Kangundo Road and started construction but we think they relaxed because there was no pressure.”
The director added the new push to have the popular slaughterhouses moved out of the area has been boosted by President Uhuru Kenyatta’s directive to the authority and to the county government to clean Nairobi river in line with the regeneration programme.
“We are not able to clean this river with the current status. So, ideally from Tuesday, there should be no slaughtering of animals here,” she said.
But owners, under the umbrella of the Kiamaiko Slaughterhouse Association, threatened to sue.
The group said they “read a hidden hand” in the latest move to push them out of the area.
“We have been here since 1996. We have all the licenses. We are compliant and are not doing an illegal business,” chairman Wario Kimeko said.
Kimeko said they had already started constructing a slaughterhouse on Kangundo Road but the exercise was slowed down by last year’s elections.
“These are some people who have built a slaughterhouse somewhere and they want us to use them but we cannot be forced to do. These are the people behind all these problems,” he said.
The Kiamaiko market in Nairobi’s Eastlands area is popular among city dwellers for its steady supply of goat meat.