Kenya will enact a new law for the management of solid waste by the end of this financial year.
The Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Forestry Keriako Tobiko says his ministry has developed three crucial documents he hopes will guide waste management both at the national and the county levels.
The documents, Tobiko says, include the National Sustainable Waste Management Bill, National Sustainable Waste Management Policy and E-Waste Strategy.
The documents prescribe measures to be undertaken to ensure the country’s transition into zero waste status.
The CS further says this will be done through minimised waste generation, separation at source, enhanced waste collection, re-use, recycling, and disposal of unusable waste to secure sanitary landfills.
Tobiko says once completed the new bill will greatly assist in dealing with the increasing challenge of handling waste in the country.
“Kenya has been grappling with the problem of waste for a long time. Our country is experiencing rapid population increase and urbanisation. Each person generates an average of about 0.5 kilogramme of waste daily which translates to about 20 million tonnes of waste daily,” said Tobiko in a statement that was read on his behalf by the ministry’s Director of Administration Mr Henry Obino in Machakos.
Obino was representing the CS during a one-day public participation workshop to discuss the proposed regulations and legislation.
Tobiko noted that at least 50 per cent of all waste generated every day across the country is compostable and can therefore be used as low–risk fertilisers by farmers.
He said since the enactment of the current constitution, Kenya has developed several documents among them the Environment Policy (2014) and the National Solid Waste Management Strategy (20140 to guide the country on sustainable solid waste management.
“The Constitution of Kenya 2010 gives Kenyans a right to a clean and healthy environment On the compliance and enforcement front, the Ministry is guided by the Environmental Management and Coordination Act (EMCA) Cap 387 and the Waste Management Regulations 2006.These two pieces of legislation have been instrument in curbing the waste menace in the country, through prescription of stiff penalties as deterrence to those who pollute the environment,” read part of the CS speech.
He cited counties as crucial players in the management of waste in the country and hailed them for developing the County Waste Acts to guide stakeholders in dealing with waste at the devolved level.
The CS nevertheless cited inadequate guidance from devolved county waste governance, emerging waste regimes and weak legislation on polluter pay principal as some of the challenges facing counties in waste management.
And to fine-tune the document, the ministry has solicited for technical support from international partners such as Netherlands, Denmark and Japan alongside global bodies like the UNEP, UN-HABITAT and the International Development Law Organisation (IDLO).
Kenya is currently facing a new war front in environmental conservation efforts due to the influx of cheap electronic equipment into the country mainly from China and other orient countries.
Majority of these electronic products later become waste due to their short –life span and end up becoming an environmental menace.
A survey carried out between 2007 and 2008 estimated that the total electronic waste (e-waste) generated from computers, monitors and printers alone stood at approximately 3,000 tonnes per year.
In 2010, UNEP estimated that Waste of Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) stood at 11,400 tonnes from refrigerators, 2,800 tonnes from TVs, 2,500 tonnes from personal computers, 500 tonnes from printers and 150 tonnes from mobile phones.