Industrial Discharge in Nairobi: An Analysis of Regulatory Environment, Quality of Discharge and Media Coverage
Otsieno, Mathews Namwaya
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Management of wastes – industrial or otherwise – is a primary step in safeguarding human health. The media, with its agenda-setting role, is important in as far as highlighting the health hazards of poor management of waste is concerned. This study, therefore, focuses on the media and the management of industrial discharge in Nairobi. The objectives of the study were: to determine the volumes of effluent waste emissions by industries; evaluation of industrial effluent discharge and determining frequency of mass-media coverage of these issues. The study particularly looked at how the mass media covered the issue of industrial discharge and its management or failure thereof in Nairobi, whose population at the time of study was 3.7 million people. Nairobi also has the highest number of industries, which in effect means that Nairobi also has the highest amounts of effluent discharge than any other Kenyan town. From the study both qualitative and quantitative data was obtained through observation, newspaper content analysis, interviews with key informants, the administration of questionnaires and laboratory tests. Data processing was by Statistical package for Social Sciences to generate frequency tables, graphs and charts. Raw industry data was also subjected to anova. The results showed that different metals were present from generated industrial waste. From the findings, the amount of metal levels (mg/1) in the discharge include Iron, Cadmium, Copper, Mercury, Arsenic and Lead. In total, industries in Nairobi discharge on average 201,600 cubic meters of effluents per month. Majority of respondents, which was at 75%, felt the media has not paid attention to the issue of industrial discharge at all and further found that relevant authorities have not enforced laws as required. The study recommended strict enforcement of environmental laws and strengthening of regulatory institutions to ensure that the type of waste effluent generated is adequately analyzed to facilitate treatment before discharge. Additionally, environmental journalism to undertake proper researched cases that capture environmental protection including effluent discharge and industrial emissions.