Target: President of Kenya Uhuru Kenyatta
Goal: Provide citizens with lead poisoning tests and medical care following contamination by a battery recycling center
The health of thousands of residents of Mombasa, Kenya is at risk because a battery recycling center in the city failed to comply with federal regulations. The center poisoned workers, the surrounding community and the environment with toxic lead from its smelter. The nation’s government needs to provide citizens with lead poisoning tests, thoroughly clean up the affected area and punish the owners of the recycling center for their negligence.
Three smelter workers have died from their exposure, according to Human Rights Watch, and it’s believed as many as 3,000 people are contaminated. The Kenyan government should have regulated the smelter when it first opened in 2007. By law, the owners of the center had to get their facility inspected before it could begin operations; the owners disregarded this law and only got an inspection after the fact.
When a government inspection of the smelter finally occurred in 2009 inspectors found various violations. The smelter was briefly closed down, but reopened with few changes in its operation. Workers continued to face health risks. The community along with local activists are demanding the government come in and clean up the mess and provide testing for those affected. Lead is highly toxic, especially to children, as it negatively affects the nervous system and development. Exposure to lead can lead to severe brain, liver, kidney, nerve and stomach damage.
The safety of citizens and the health of the environment should be the government’s main priorities. Demand that the Kenyan government begin an immediate cleanup of the contaminated area, conduct lead poisoning tests on nearby residents and hold the center’s owners accountable for their gross negligence.
Dear President Kenyatta,
I am writing this letter to demand that the Kenyan government begin the immediate cleanup of the battery recycling center in Mombasa. This facility is responsible for the death of three workers due to lead poisoning and the contamination of as many as 3,000 people from the nearby community.
This facility has had a history of poor management resulting in health risks for workers, the community and the surrounding environment. The government consistently failed to regulate the plant’s smelter, allowing its owners to operate in violation of the law and without fear of punishment.
It is the government’s responsibility to ensure citizens are protected from industrial hazards like lead poisoning. Thus I am calling for an immediate cleanup of the area and to ask that the government ensure every affected citizen is tested for lead poisoning and receives the medical care they require to treat any related illnesses. In addition, I must insist that the center’s owners be tried for their criminal negligence. Your citizens shouldn’t have to pay the price for their flagrant disregard of health and environmental safety.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Lamiot via Wikimedia Commons