Compliance of slaughterhouses to environmental regulations: a case study of Dagoretti Market Abattoirs, Kikuyu District, Kenya
Dagoretti abattoirs have previously been accused of polluting the environment within Dagoretti Market and especially the Kabuthi River by disposing sludge which promotes water pollution and eutrophication. This reduces the levels of oxygen concentrations thereby affecting aquatic life and also making the water unsafe for domestic use. Vegetation along the riparian environment has previously been clogged with the indigested seeds from the intestines of animal carcasses leading to prolification of nuisance plants. The Environment Management and Co-ordination Act (EMCA) 1999, Environmental Impact Assessment and Audit Regulations, 2003 demanded that all businesses establishments before this Law be audited to determine their effects to the environment and develop Environmental Management Plan and Monitoring guidelines. Dagoretti abattoirs come into focus as key players in the meat industry slaughtering over 600 animals daily which also causes significant environmental impacts in both the biophysical and social dimensions. In August 2008, NEMA closed all the abattoirs in the area for a period of between four to eight weeks. The aim of this study was to determine whether the closure of the abattoirs and the subsequent re-opening has improved the general environment of the surrounding areas and the river water quality and aesthetics. The study was also done to establish whether the abattoirs have complied with the statutory and regulatory requirements in the meat industry following their reopening after NEMA's closure and also whether there IS contribution from other sources to the environmental degradation of Dagoretti area. To make this study possible, both primary ana secondary data were used. Primary data sources included field observations and use of questionnaires completed by the Dagoretti residents including interviews within the abattoirs management and experts from the veterinary sector in addition to water laboratory. A total of 16 villages around the abattoirs were selected where interviews were conducted through questionnaires administration. The respondents who numbered 264 were selected through random sampling. The villages varied in terms of distance from the Abattoirs ranging from 400m from the abattoir to 3000 m. Water samples were taken from River Kabuthi at lkm interval and tested for water quality. Six other waste water samples were taken from the four abattoirs and subjected to quality analysis. The secondary sources of data included relevant materials from the published and unpublished texts, journals and reports from different research institutions. Data analysis and presentation was undertaken using both qualitative and quantitative methods with statistical analysis done using Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS) computer package. The study established that Dagoretti abattoirs had significantly reduced their levels of pollution after the year 2008 as compared to the periods before the closure by NEMA. The abattoirs however still presented many hazards to the environment in terms of effluent, solid wastes, odours, dust, insecurity and noise. They were also yet to fully comply with the health and safety requirement, as they had not installed firefighting equipments in their facilities, had not conducted fire drill exercises and workers had not been trained in First Aid. The study also found out that the abattoirs were not the only polluters of Kabuthi River and Dagoretti Town. Other related activities such as the open air market, Miraa and fruits vendors, hides and skin businesses within the abattoir town had also contributed to the degradation of the environment of Dagoretti and pollution of the Kabuthi River. The study, based on these findings made some key recommendations as follows: (a) The operators of the abattoirs with the help of Kikuyu County Council, Nairobi City Council and NEMA should establish an Environmental Management Plan for the premises. The plan should incorporate guidelines that help monitor the effect of the - - sludge that is disposed in the neighbouring farms where nippier grass and vegetables are irrigated. (b) A planning committee be put into place to co-ordinate and synchronize the activities of the four abattoirs, especially on methods of waste disposal and implementation of cleaner production strategies. (c) A 500m buffer zone should be established between the abattoirs and the residential areas in order to minimize the effects the abattoirs have on the immediate residential areas, for example the overflow of sludge during the heavy rains, dust from animaloffloading lorries and noise among other effects.