Kenyans have been warned that vehicles and food items entering the country from Japan and Ukraine may have been exposed to radiation, which experts say could be behind the increased cases of cancer.
A parliamentary committee heard that most of the vehicles and food items coming from the two countries, which have been hit by nuclear leaks, were not inspected upon entry into Kenya.
Board chief executive Joel Kamande stunned the committee when he revealed that two containers loaded with radiation-contaminated milk were recently sent back to the Ukraine. If the milk has entered the market it would have been a disaster considering the huge deposits of radiation in it.
“Going by the current circumstances, I cannot vouch for the security of Kenyans, what with many vehicles and products entering the country without being inspected,” Kamande told a bewildered committee, compelling chairman Adan Keynan to suggest that the matter be declared a national disaster.
Many vehicles shipped in from Japan were found to have been exposed to radiation, raising fears that cancer related ailments were likely to be reported. “We have sent back vehicles destined for the local market and Tanzania in the recent past and the trend does not seem to be ending,” Kamande added.
RPB, which is mandated to inspect and license other players in the industry, is grossly understaffed, with only 25 experts. “With at least 2,000 vehicles entering into the country, the board had no capacity to handle the huge volumes,” Kamande lamented.
Kamande, a radiation physics expert, and Limuru MP Chege Kiragu, himself an expert in the field, warned that the country is in serious danger of radiation-contaminated imported products. “There are very many points of entry but sadly we have erected machinery and experts only at the Kilindini harbour,” Kamande said.
Kiragu cautioned that majority of equipment in hospitals, including X-ray machines contained radio isotopes, which are not inspected since the country does not have personnel to do the work. Kamande further astounded the committee when he said that a Japanese firm, which inspects vehicles imported from Japan, was not licensed.