Shocking Revelations: Why Cancer is on the increase in Kenya.

Cyrus Jirongo

Unveiling the Connection Between Marsabit’s Toxic Waste and Cancer Cases

In the remote Northern districts of Kenya, a mysterious cancer epidemic has been claiming the lives of countless individuals. The harsh nomadic lifestyles and persistent poverty that have long characterized this region have not changed. However, there is a growing concern that the silent deaths attributed to various forms of cancer and related complications may be connected to toxic waste present in the area. Recent media reports have shed light on the alarming situation, revealing that over 500 people have lost their lives due to this epidemic in Marsabit County alone in recent years. If a wider and more thorough investigation were to be conducted, the number of casualties could potentially be in the thousands.

One would expect that the country’s premier medical research institution, Kemri, would provide valuable insights into this troubling issue. However, their handling of the matter has been far from satisfactory. Initially, Kemri declined to publish the results of their study, claiming that the report could only be released to its sponsor. Later, they made audacious claims that the deaths could not be attributed to radioactive materials possibly dumped by oil exploration companies. Instead, they pointed fingers at excessive impurities in the water sources in the area.

Such explanations are nothing short of balderdash! The water sources in the region have been used for centuries, without causing mass deaths. It is truly appalling that Kemri would attempt to cover up what even the unschooled residents of the area know to be true – hazardous radioactive waste was dumped in Marsabit and other parts of North Eastern Kenya in the 1980s. Villagers recount tales of large trucks with containers being brought in under the cover of darkness, heavily guarded, and buried in the ground. These accounts cannot be dismissed as mere hearsay.

In 2010, Greenpeace, an environmental organization, revealed that nearly 10 million tonnes of radioactive toxic waste from Europe were shipped to Africa between 1988 and 1994. The Somalia coast was identified as one of the key destinations. Shockingly, an Italian environmental group and a former member of a criminal organization disclosed that dozens of ships laden with toxic waste were sunk off the Italian coast and in the Mediterranean. The dangerous waste was also reportedly shipped to Somalia, Kenya, and the Democratic Republic of Congo to be buried on land or dumped off their coasts.

Officials from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) reported that large containers of hazardous waste, including heavy metals like lead and mercury, washed ashore in parts of Puntland, Somalia during the Tsunami in 2004. Furthermore, a compelling documentary aired by Al Jazeera TV in 2009 exposed how officials from an Italian maritime company bribed officials in Somalia during the 1990s to bury radioactive waste in the heart of the country, leading to a devastating toll of death and destruction.

These revelations raise serious concerns about the management of toxic waste globally. In 1992, the countries of the European Union and 168 other nations signed the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Waste and their Disposal. Despite this, the international trafficking of toxic waste by businesses and criminal organizations has continued to thrive. Greenpeace estimates that this illicit trade is a lucrative enterprise, generating a staggering $124 billion annually. Shockingly, Europe alone produces over 40 million tonnes of toxic waste, with 70% of it unaccounted for.

The complicity of governments and international criminal firms in perpetuating this trade is a grave concern. It is high time for action to be taken to uncover the truth behind the alleged link between toxic waste and the rising cancer cases in Marsabit. The President should appoint an independent team of experts to investigate these deaths thoroughly. Kemri must not prevaricate and attempt to dupe the Kenyan people. They have a responsibility to live up to their reputation if they have any left.

The environmental crisis in Marsabit and its potential impact on the health of its residents cannot be ignored. Swift measures must be taken to address the issue and hold those responsible accountable. The lives and well-being of the people in this region hang in the balance. The connection between toxic waste and cancer cases demands urgent attention and action.

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