Residents of Owino Uhuru, Mikindani Mombasa
Residents of Owino Uhuru, Mikindani Mombasa

Residents of Owino Uhuru slum, Mikindani in Mombasa have been granted Sh1.3 billion compensation for death, sickness and damages caused by emissions from lead-smelting factories.

More than 3,000 people filed the class action suit in 2016, seeking Sh2 billion damages.

Environment Court judge Ann Omolo on Thursday directed 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 Mikindani, Jomvu constituency who either worked for or lived next to the now-closed smelting plant, Metal Refinery EPZ.

The court said the ministries, agencies and company were responsible for death and damages sustained by the residents.

Judge Omolo said NEMA will bear the greatest responsibility for damages at 40 per cent.

The mental refinery that produced the lead would sail at 25 per cent of the damages for carelessness.

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

The court cleared 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.

If they fail to comply, the parties will have to pay Sh700 million that will be paid to the Centre for Justice Governance and Environment Action, the civil society organisation behind the class action suit.

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