The never-ending struggle of a Kenyan village beset by lead poisoning
Residents of a poor district in Mombasa accuse the government of ignoring their pleas for help after toxic waste from a nearby smelter caused three deaths and untold suffering. Although the factory was finally forced to move after seven years, the community is still suffering the consequences. The smelter – which recycles batteries – began operating in 2007 in Mombasa’s impoverished Owino Uhuru district.
As a result of toxic lead poisoning from the plant, Human Rights Watchsays three people have died and thousands more have been contaminated. The rights organization also accuses the government of failing to enforce its own regulations: contrary to Kenyan law, the plant began operating even before it had carried out an Environmental Impact Assessment. The government finally forced the smelter to move elsewhere earlier this year after pressure from rights groups and heavy media coverage.