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Institute urges environmental impact assessment amid probe on Embakasi gas explosion

By Winnie Onyando February 24th, 2024 2 min read

Following the recent tragic explosion of an LPG tanker in Mradi, Embakasi, Nairobi County, the Environment Institute of Kenya (EIK) has shared its expert perspective on how the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process can play a vital role in averting such disasters.

Established in 2015, the EIK is a professional body dedicated to regulating the standards of environmental practice in Kenya.

The explosion, which occurred on February 1st, 2024, left more than six dead and more than 300 others nursing various injuries.

According to Alex Mugambi, the Chairperson of the Environment Institute of Kenya, the EIA process is like a safety net.

It’s all about spotting possible problems before they happen with big projects, like the one with the LPG tanker.

“The idea is to figure out what might go wrong and make plans to stop it or make it less bad,” Mr Mugambi said in a press statement.

The EIA happens when a project is just an idea.

It’s like checking for potential problems before they become real.

NEMA, the group that looks after the environment, helps with this.

After studying everything carefully, NEMA gives a sort of green light called a Record of Decision (RoD).

This says the project can go ahead, but only if certain important rules are followed.

But in the case of the LPG tanker explosion, even though they got the green light, the project didn’t happen.

The EIK highlights the importance of compliance with safety regulations, including those set by the Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) and the County Government.

Furthermore, the EIK calls for a multi-agency approach to address safety concerns, involving agencies such as EPRA, the Director of Physical Planning, and the Water Resource Authority.

“Workplace safety regulations, including those outlined in the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act of 2007, are emphasized as crucial for mitigating risks associated with hazardous substances and industrial operations.”

Derrick Kimathi, the owner of the gas filling plant in Embakasi that exploded and killed at least six, was arrested alongside three senior officials at the National Environment Management Authority (Nema).

The government is still probing into the deadly blast.

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