The Issue of Industrial Land Pollution in Nairobi Country

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Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Industrial Pollution on Real Estate Development
  • Cost Implication of Industrial Pollution on Real Estate Development in Nairobi
  • Impact of Industrial Pollution on Real Estate Development
  • The Strategic Measures for Lands Affected By Industrial Pollution in Nairobi County
    Challenges Faced by Nairobi County in Implementation of Environmental Policies
    Role of the Kenyan Government in Taming Industrial Pollution
  • Empirical Review
  • Research Gap
  • Summary
  • References


This chapter presents the literature review on the effects of industrial pollution on real estate development. It also covers the past or previous studies that have been done on industrial pollution in relation to real estate development. The chapter is hence broken down into study review, conceptual review, and empirical review, critique of the previous studies, research gap, summary and the conceptual framework.

Industrial Pollution on Real Estate Development

Cost Implication of Industrial Pollution on Real Estate Development in Nairobi

Not only does pollution of natural environment effect people in terms of health factor but also have adverse and severe impact on economic growth in the long run. An analytical study conducted on the issue pollution load illustrates that there are merely a few industries which contribute to more than 90 percent of the pollution in the city during 1990-2010. This is also owed to the fact that Nairobi is a rapidly growing city in terms of industrial coverage and investments (Kamau et al., 2011). This has called for an effectively urgent need of policymakers to give top most precedence and priority for preventing and controlling pollution in these industries which will aid in decreasing industrial pollution to a recommendable great extent.

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The city’s industrial structure has undergone through various changes especially since the economic reforms and development agenda by the country’s leadership. However, in Kenya, major environmental reforms have initiated to take into consideration the impact of changing industrial pattern on environment but seemingly the implementation of the reforms and execution of the required duties have never been put in place effectively. Owing to the economic implications of the increased pollution despite all the regulations and reforms in place, the city has suffered set back in terms of expansion of real estate development. According to Kamau et al., (2011), many developers tend to neglect regions which are potentially or likely to be effected by the always looming rage of industrial pollution. This has brought stagnation of the countries developments in the real estate sector.

Since the initiation of industrial revolution, economic indicators performances have been solely used as the main criteria for evaluating or rather measuring progress. Consequently, when Kenya got independence, achieving economic prosperity was the major concern which could only be realized through rapid industrialization (Ngugi, 1983). The development policy in the country made it easy for the entry of both private and foreign investment and technology in industrial sector. Contrary to this, it wasn’t clearly anticipated the fact that the likely pollution as a result of industrialization would have a major impact on the other economic sectors. Illegal damping of wastes from the industries in the city have scared many investors hence have pulled back in investing in real estate developments (Kamau et al., 2011).

Kenya has been able to develop a strong and diversified industrial structure, which put the country in the league of emerging economies not only in the Eastern Africa but globally. However, rapid industrialization has carried with it the seeds of environmental damage. Environmental damage on itself reduces the value of the land (Ngugi, 1983). Recovering the lost lands due to industrial pollution on the other hand is costly and requires a well-structured strategic plan. First of all, the county is forced to face additional health sustainability costs. Real estate developers will also always look at the costs associated with acquiring a portion of land. When they realize the additional cost of acquisition due to industrial pollution, they always back off.

It has been proven that industrial pollution is one of the most evident environmental problems experienced by now industrialized countries and majority of the newly industrializing economies are facing it today (Kamau et al., 2011). Industrial pollution and waste encompass the full range of materials generated by industrial activities that are unwanted by the producer. Environmental pollution of this kind always bar investors from venturing into real estate business hence subjects the city and the entire nation to economic stagnation. The government raises revenues from such kind of business hence with slowed growth or prevented growth of the real estate sector has an adverse impact on the county’s revenue collection (CBS, 2000).

Cost implications of the industrial pollution menace can be looked at in a more social angle. It is plain that certain components of industrial pollution and waste are hazardous to human health and the environment. This elevates the fact that individuals will shy away from the affected areas even though real estate developers take a risk of developing a given region. A country whose citizens are suffering from plague of illness, diseases and afflictions has no place in these qualities that contribute to making any country a great nation (Kamau et al., 2011). The mismanagement of these wastes can lead to short term risks, environmental degradation, breeding of insets, spontaneous fire outbreak. It is always fit to argue that environmental pollution recognizes improper, ineffective and unhygienic disposal of refuse materials as its vectors.

It’s full of sobriety to argue that real estate development always face major setbacks in areas that are fiercely affected by industrial pollution. Pollution associated with poor sanitary habits of the individual industries as well as the populace in the affected areas can therefore be said to be a product of underdevelopment (CBS, 2000). The environment can very well be polluted owing to social transgression when people fail to observe simple public order such as where not to smoke or where not urinate. Smoking in public has been a subject of argument for a long time now. As far as the study is concerned, the cost of developing real estates in this regions may always not take place. This has cost implications on the county revenue collection, the overall GDP of the nation, reduced investments which eventually leads to underdevelopment.

Impact of Industrial Pollution on Real Estate Development

A study conducted by HRSD (2012) mentions that pollution of natural environment including land, water and air, not only affects people but also have adverse impact on economic growth in the long run. This economic holdup also touches the sector of real estate development. Analysis of pollution load shows that there are few industries which contribute to more than ninety percent of the pollution in the developing countries in the previous two decades. It is therefore plain that there is an urgent need on the part of policymakers to give top most priority for controlling pollution in these industries which will help in reducing industrial pollution to a commendable great extent with the aim of up surging the economic status of a given state.

Industrial pollution doesn’t only act as a holdup towards a nation’s development path but also scares away the potential investors. Reza and Singh, (2010) argues that since the introduction of industrial revolution, performances on economic indicators alone have been used as the principal criteria for measuring progress. They add that when many nations got independence, the major concern was on achieving economic prosperity through rapid industrialization. This included the introduction of real estate development with the economic confinement of the nations. The increasing industrialization in urban areas consequentially brought about industrial pollution which had adverse effects.

Many developers find it difficult to deal with lands which are highly polluted or the ones that are likely or rather potentially positioned for such kind of pollutions. This is due to the costs attached to getting rid of the wastes or planning for them. Industrial pollution is as a result of poor management of industrial wastes has always received the bigger share of the blame and fault in many states (Reza & Singh, 2010).

Just like the nation Kenya, many developing countries have faced blamed for disposing wastes in environmentally abusive ways such as indiscriminate dumping, uncontrolled burning, and disposal with no regard to the health of the human population that has always discouraged up surged real estate developments. Dealing with polluted environment where lack of strategic managerial approach which is required for it to be dealt with lacks, it has always proven difficult for these organizations, say developers, to be readily convinced to start real estate development.

Smith, (2001) in his research argues that the growing urbanization and the growing alarm about environmental problems, protective actions from industrial are becoming a component of many real estate developers as well as individuals' lifestyle today. Real Estate developers tend to consider the cost of real estate development in areas which are vulnerable to industrial pollution (Smith, 2001). This has taken the consideration of cost implication analysis of the real estate developers to find out both the financial and social viability of their projects. Socially, the populace always tend to avoid the polluted environments due to the health factor thus its considerably apt for the developers to avoid such areas for their financial security.

Real Estate Development as an economic venture with a major aim of profit making. Real estate developers always take into consideration the aspect of industrial pollution. Industrial pollution increases the initial costs of these ventures thus many real estate developers tend to avoid or get discouraged from the regions vulnerable to industrial pollutions (Udoudo 2006). The cost implications of dealing with polluted environs tend to scare away real estate developers. This is associated with slowdown of potential development projects thus underdevelopment in a nation.

The Strategic Measures for Lands Affected By Industrial Pollution in Nairobi County

Wang (2005) argues that for an effective management strategy, implementation and coordination mechanisms are to be put in place. Current management strategies are capable of achieving management of industrial land pollution, but need has arisen for new institutions based on the perspective of regional and local development committees.

In Kenya, there is the need for both proper and effective legislation and institutional framework to ensure policing and regulation of industrialization, and work tirelessly towards dealing with industrial pollution on the land potential for real estate development. Wang (2005) on the same note acknowledges the need to note that although industrial land pollution is managed at various levels in the political and socio-economic systems, sustainable environmental management requires the development of relevant institutions in appropriate levels of management to govern land pollution by industries to carb this menace and pave way for speedy real estate developments.

It is plain that a proper management plan/strategy for industrial pollution may result in sustainable management of the land quality that would be welcoming to investors and developers in the sector of real estate development. This calls for two managerial approach and best practices that would see industries reduce the rate at which solid waste materials are delivered to the lands in the city illegally. Firstly, there is the need for proper integration with other pollution related management systems and should effectively be put into account. The second one being capacity building. Capacity building in the relevant institutions is an important constituent in the implementation of a management strategy.

Some of the strategic measures put by the developer to deal with the cases of lands affected by industrial pollution in Nairobi County or should be considered towards dealing with industrial pollution on land are as discussed.

Firstly, there should be the enforcement of industrial bylaws. These bylaws should be well structured and developed to regulate industrial land. There should also be application of self-regulation mechanisms by industries aimed at improving their side as far as the environment as a factor is concerned. Community/stakeholder partnerships should also ensure that comprehensive management and implementation of laws put in place. Fierce and aggressive measures should be taken to the industries that release excessive wastes to the land. It should involve proper and strict enforcement of relevant laws and policies with stern penalties for noncompliance. This can be closure on any other kind of taxation and fines that would discourage any industry into doing the same or not adhering to the set rules and regulations.

Secondly, setting up of monitoring and evaluation units at the county level to ensure consistent check on the industries involved in any kind of production that may trigger or enhance land pollution. Environmentally friendly production dealing with land pollution at the source should be greatly considered by these industries. There should be a frequent and strategic review of policies and legislative framework that governs industrial pollution to deal with the emerging issues. This should be closely done through prioritizing active multi stakeholder participation by sensitization on the need for stakeholder participation.

In Nairobi, many industries have been isolated from the residential areas but this however has not reduced pollution rates and levels. Industries being located in their own designated areas away from residential areas. When industries away from the residential areas, it will be effective health-wise for the potential residents of the real estate structures as well as of financial viability to the developers. The neighboring residents to carryout proper basic health and safety measures.

Precisely, the county management should always think of harmonizing the policies and mandate of various institutions, strict enforcement of relevant laws with severe penalties for noncompliance, setting up of monitoring and evaluation watchdogs at the county level, creating awareness and promoting the values of integrity among public. There should be budgetary re-allocation should that prioritizes on environmental management through enhancing systems that promote improved financial management within policy enforcing organizations. The county must also aim at improving the infrastructure and technology for implementing bodies to easily follow up on industries and formation of relevant policies, regulations and air quality standards. Lastly, the county should involve the political class in the implementation of policies and come up with ultimately clear definition of roles of various institutions responsible in dealing with land pollution.

Challenges Faced by Nairobi County in Implementation of Environmental Policies

The county government has put efforts to ensure that industries are guided and regulated to avoid any kind of potential pollution that may drive away real estate developers. The county has however faced some challenges in the implementation of policies and legislative frameworks in the management of land pollution which include: conflicting policies and legislation, secondly non-compliance by developers, thirdly lack of quantitative and qualitative capacity in the county, Poor coordination amongst the stakeholders involved is also evident, corruption among policy enforcers, Insufficient funds, inadequate land quality standards, lack of or insufficient political good will, lack of infrastructure considerably adequate technology and the presence of conflict of interest amongst stakeholders.

Role of the Kenyan Government in Taming Industrial Pollution

The government of Kenya plays a very important role in prevention of land pollution. It is through government regulations that industries are forced to reduce their land pollution and new developments in technology are created to help everyone do their part in the prevention of land pollution.

The government is mandated to continuously make regulations stricter and enforce new regulations that help to combat any new found source of land pollution. The government is mandated to make investments in scientific studies on the damaging effects of land pollution not only on real estate developments but also on plants, animals and human life. The legislative body has continuously written laws to control damping of solid wastes. It has also a responsibility to make investments more in education in schools and universities where trainers teach students, beginning at very young ages, about the effects of land pollution and cost impacts towards developments.

The Kenyan government should also be engaged in thorough environmental assessment. The first step to solving land pollution is assessment. Government researchers have started to investigate industrial land pollution and develop standards for measuring the type and amount of some serious land pollutants that shouldn’t be allowed to be anyhow damped into the lands. It can also use incentives and subsidies to encourage compliance.

Empirical Review

Udoudo (2006) defines as a business process, covering activities that range from the renovation and re-lease of existing buildings to the formal acquisition of raw land and the sale of developed land or parcels to others. Real Estate Development as an economic venture always take into consideration the aspect of industrial pollution.

According to Brasseur and Pszenny (2001), the phrase industrial pollution has been defined as a change in the physical, chemical or biological conditions caused by industrial operation and practices in the environment which dangerously affects the equally of life. The cost implications of dealing with polluted environs tend to scare away real estate developers.

According to Udoudo (2006) in his study, industrial pollution increases the initial costs of these ventures thus many real estate developers tend to avoid or get discouraged from the regions vulnerable to industrial pollutions. Real estate developers are the people and companies who coordinate all of these activities, converting ideas from paper to real property.

Williams, (2006) on his study on the role of developers in real estate development mentions that developers purchase land, finance real estate deals and transactions, build or have builders build projects, create, imagine, control, and coordinate the procedure of development from the beginning to end. Developers consider polluted areas as of low value hence usually find themselves keen on purchasing valuable land that can relate to the cost of acquisition.

Reza and Singh, (2010) in their research argue that developers usually take the greatest risk in the creation or renovation of real estate; but ultimately receive the greatest rewards. Ideally, the main idea of real estate development revolves around land resources. With industrial pollution taking toll in our environmental settings, considerably the land, water and air, real estate developers tend to evaluate the cost impact these pollution can bring to the investment.

Williams, (2006) argues that pollution as a menace tend to lower their profit levels hence most of the developers wouldn’t like to find themselves in engaging in transactions of lands marred with pollution. On the other hand, developers may purchase a neglected or wasted land and creatively use it for profit making purposes.

According Durmishi et al. (2008), developers buy a piece of land, determine the marketing of the property, develop the building program and design, obtain the necessary public approval, documentations and financing, build the structures, and rent out, manage, and ultimately sell it in quest of making profits. In the cases of land being polluted, a developer may be forced to inject more funds to facilitate all the processes of dealing with the solid wastes considering the costs of all the above responsibilities.

Rita, (2005) mentions that if the complexities and challenges of dealing with the industrial pollution or the potential holdup of the real estate development projects, there is need for development of strategies and risk assessment criteria that aims at dealing with the predicaments and risks involved. This starts from the point of land identification. A good developer understands that the success of the real estate development depends on his or her ability to conduct a feasibility study to achieve the financial viability of a real estate development project. The researcher only considers the role of the developers without delving into the responsibilities and the mandate of the individual companies to squarely curb the pollution menace.

According to Smith (2001), political goodwill in dealing with industrial pollution is equally an important factor for swift real estate development. It involves the contribution of the political class in making rules that may favor real estate development and curb industrial pollution to give more land for developments. On the other hand, Rita (2005) argues that inclusion or rather involvement of the political class may result into cases of corruption and further losses of finances. It is plain that political class may be relevant in the policy formulation but seemingly it comes with the added risks according to researches.

Williams, (2006) argues that in the real estate development, quality refers to the suitability of an item for its intended purpose. In real estate development, therefore the best quality is not necessarily the highest quality. In fact, sometimes the best quality may be the lowest quality. Quality must always be judged in the light of the use to which the product will be judged. The researcher feels that the study by Williams doesn’t demystify the puzzle behind quality in real estate development which is a challenge to the developers and the holdup impact from the industrial land pollution. The study therefore seeks to investigate the effects of industrial pollution on real estate development in Nairobi County.

Research Gap

There have been studies conducted on the field of industrial pollution and their potential impact on real estate development. Several preceding researches have only focused on the effects of industrial pollution on human health while to the best knowledge of the researcher, no apt study has been conducted on the effects of industrial pollution on real estate development. Kamau et al., (2011), examined the effects of industrial pollution on human health in Nairobi. Their study did not, however, explain the concept the other side of real estate development. Fizza (2015) analyzed effects of air pollution on human health. This study did not explain the extent to which industrial pollution affects real estate development. In spite of of the aforementioned importance of industrial waste management, past studies have not adequately addressed the relation between industrial pollution and its effects on real estate development. The researcher therefore finds it relevant to expound on the effects of industrial pollution on real estate development. The study seeks to clarify the literature dissatisfaction through carrying out an investigation into possible solutions for averting the consequences of poor industrial waste management to encourage real estate development by bridging the gap between industrial pollution and its impact on real estate development. This study will seek to investigate the effects of industrial pollution on real estate development in Nairobi County.


In summary, this chapter has covered a conceptual framework that shows the relationship between the variables of the study. The chapter has also covered a literature review of variables, an empirical review of study, the critique of existing literature and the research gap that the study intends to fill.


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