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Kenyan Environmental Authority Raises Concerns Over Waste Management

NEMA working on Nairobi River

Kenya’s National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) has issued directive on liquid and solid waste management particularly in urban towns to save the present environment and future generations.

“Increased population in urban centers without adequate infrastructure and proper planning is a cause of worry for the authority,” NEMA Acting Director General Dr Ayub Macharia has said.

Dr Macharia addressed a press conference accompanied by Nairobi Provincial Commissioner Mr Njoroge Ndirangu. He said that that all Water and Sewerage Companies should undergo regular surveillance of their sewerage infrastructure to stop illegal discharges promptly.

“The authority will take enforcement action including prosecution for the service providers that are non-compliant,” he said to the directives from NEMA.

Landlords with residential apartments discharging effluent into the environment will be required to stop illegal discharge immediately, either by; connection to the sewer, or timely exhausting of their septic tank, or the installation of on-site waste water treatment facilities.

“The Authority will take stern enforcement action against any landlords found discharging waste water and polluting the environment,” the General Manager pointed out.

He warned that “owners of car washes that are situated near water bodies and do not have oil water interceptors should close down immediately, without which enforcement action will be taken. The Public is warned that any vehicle found in illegal car washes is liable to prosecution.”

These directives are coming at a time when the country is undergoing major transformation towards urbanization especially with the promulgation of the new constitution. 47 counties have been established in Kenya “and there are major plans to activate them. The county establishments and operations will definitely spur economic growth in urban centers with the consequences of increased rural urban migration,” Dr Macharia said.

NEMA is concerned over the environmental outlook for major urban towns. “Nairobi, Mombasa and Kisumu, for example, have encountered environmental concerns such as air and water pollution, waste management, building and construction in wetlands among others.”

According to Dr Macharia the mushrooming of slums and traffic jams makes it difficult to enforce environmental standards in these urban towns.

The Kenyan Constitution gives the Kenyan people the right to a clean and healthy environment. It obligates the state organs among others to ensure sustainable exploitation, utilization, management and conservation of environment and natural resources. It also ensures equitable sharing of the accruing benefits as well as establishment of systems of environmental impact assessment, environmental audit and monitoring of the environment.

The constitution requires the elimination of processes and activities that are likely to endanger the environment as well as mandating the NEMA to safeguard and enhance the environmental rights of the people of Kenya.

About Robert Okemwa Onsare

Robert Okemwa Onsare
Robert Onsare is pursuing Electronics Technology at the University of Eastern Africa, Baraton. He is a Cluster Strategy trained facilitator by Kenya's National Economic and Social Council (NESC). Mr Onsare has been an incubation student at the University of Nairobi, School of Engineering, FabLab, a venture project of the university and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He is a member of the African Technology Policy Studies Network (ATPS) and a published poet. Mr Onsare is based in Kenya.

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