Kenyans voice alarm over Chinese lead-smelting plant

Thirty days before it is due to open, a lead-smelting factory in Kenya's fourth-largest city is raising environmental and health concerns among residents, the Nairobi-based Business Daily reported on Wednesday.

Chinese-owned Xianghui International (Kenya) Limited is heading for a battle with green campaigners in Nakuru, the report said, over what is seen as the firm’s poor environmental record.

There are also concerns that the company’s operations have been shrouded in secrecy. "We knew that a Chinese firm had applied to set up a plant in the town’s industrial area," a Nakuru Municipal Council official, who took part in environmental evaluation of the firm, was quoted as saying. "But we did not know it was a smelter until late last year when we saw the long chimney connecting to the furnace."

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