Monday, August 1, 2011

Mombasa Fuel Spillage a Disaster in Waiting

Engineers from Kenya Pipeline Company fixing the fuel spillage last week (PHOTO: Daily Nation; Kenya)
The fuel spillage from Kenya Pipeline Company (KPC) last week in Mariakani Mombasa is a tip of an iceberg for disaster waiting to occur due to poor planning.
The Thursday incident caused by bulldozers on road construction saw over 400,000 liters of fuel worth over Ksh. 28 million going to waste.
That the pipe was only a foot from the surface instead on the mandatory 6 feet shows that the pipes laid in 1978 need repair to check the effect of erosion and population pressure for safety.
Wanainchi scrambling for fuel and late police intervention even with the country’s history of deaths caused by spillage compounds the problem.
This scenario is perhaps more pronounced at Magongo overlooking the entrance of the refinery where even though several signposts cautioning the danger of underlying pies, with valves on grounds, are ignored. Hotels using raw fuel, construction and human and matatu traffic goes on in the area oblivious of the danger.
Last week’s incident if it may happen at night in a place like Magongo plus the delayed police response which shows our slow disaster preparedness can be catastrophic.
The ministry of energy and the KPC together with the Mombasa Council need to check the status of these pipes. 

(Published in 2nd August 2011 issue of The Star and The Standard)

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