Oil spills are killing our youth

sachangwanIt turns out many of the injured and killed in the Sachangwan oil tanker explosion were youths. Noah Cheploen writing in last Wednesday’s Daily Nation newspaper interviewed a few of the young survivors. With a growing population of idle youth and no employment opportunities forthcoming, it is not at all surprising that they took advantage of the overturned tanker in order to make some money just to put some food on the table.

“Those who were able to get the oil sold it at Sh. 50 per litre, while others sold a 20 litre jerrycan for Sh. 500” – Oil spill survivors blame poverty, Daily Nation Wednesday February 4th, 2009.

Apart from harrowing tales of what the survivors witnessed, a deeper and sinister story emerged that siphoning spilt diesel from tankers has become an industry in its own right. The sector thrives on the high demand partly from to the influx of motor bike taxis plying rural roads, as well as the growth of cottage industries that use oil as an input.

Naivasha, according to the Daily Nation article has become a trade hub where “traders have been raking in profits from unrefined oil scooped from accident scenes … the last time a trailer rolled and spilled oil, business people were buying the product at Sh. 100 per jerrican”.

So what can be done to put an end to this opportunistic commerce?

As long as youth unemployment remains unaddressed and initiatives such as the youth enterprise development fund remain inaccessible, Kenya’s enterprising youth will continue this trade whenever a tanker falls, ever hoping that on that day, an inferno will not rise up to snuff out their young lives.


About yipe
Yipe an acronym for the Youth Interactive Portal for Enterprise is an organization that assists entrepreneurs to start up and manage their small businesses.

One Response to Oil spills are killing our youth

  1. Pingback: Playing with Fire! « Yipe log

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