, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 16 – Environment Cabinet Secretary Judi Wakhungu on Tuesday launched a 100-day Rapid Results Initiative on solid waste management of the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA).
Over the next 100 days the plan is to see, among other things, matatus refitted with bins and provided with larger bins within which to dispose their waste at bus termini.
An initiative aimed at spurring a reduction in the quantity of polythene carrier bags at the retail level will also be launched in the course of the next 100 days.
President Uhuru Kenyatta is also expected to launch a National Solid Waste Management Strategy.
Longer term, Wakhungu says the plan is to see the National Solid Waste Management Strategy result in 80 percent waste recovery and 20 percent landfilling in a sanitary landfill by 2030.
“My ministry has noted with a lot of concern the continued environmental degradation in our cities, towns and upcoming urban centres due to rapid development of informal settlements, poor solid waste practices, noise pollution, air pollution, lack of a non-adherence to zoning policies and waste management regulations,” Wakhungu said at the launch.
She called on her National Treasury counterpart Henry Rotich to increase the National Environment Management Authority’s budget.
Wakhungu said it would allow for the hiring of 500 environment inspectors to guard against illegal dumping and other such environmental pollutants.
“In order to effectively regulate and enforce Waste Management Regulations in the country, NEMA requires an additional workforce of at least 500 environmental inspectors. I have also directed the NEMA board to set aside 30 percent of this 2016/17 budget towards enforcement of waste management laws.
“Compliance in PSVs and private vehicles, supermarket chains SMEs and in hot spot areas within the country will be monitored through joint collaboration between NEMA, NTSA, the county governments, Kenya Police Service and media at night and during the day,” she said.
At the same event, the Principal Secretary for Environment Charles Sunkuli said garbage trucks would soon be required to sport a uniform colour to guard against illegal dumping.
“The trucks must have a brand, they must have a colour that can be identified so that should you see a truck depositing waste in the wrong place you can actually call NEMA and they will be arrested.”
Sunkuli said the ministry would also work with religious leaders to inculcate a culture of responsible waste disposal.
He said the irresponsible disposal of waste qualified as a moral issue given the God given mandate to care for one’s surrounding.
“The throw-away culture is an issue of ethics and that we are going to address in so many ways, for example, we’re going to bring on board the religious organizations for at the apex of their leadership for the bishops to even issue pastoral letters to be read in churches to link faith and cleanliness across all the churches in Kenya,” he said.
In that effort, Sunkuli called on other counties to emulate Kiambu which has put in place a state-of-the-art solid waste disposal system with UN Habitat assistance.
“I want to take this opportunity to really congratulate the Governor of Kiambu, Honourable Kabogo for the initiative that county has taken up and we shall actually use it as our best example. Very soon we’re going to visit that site and this will form as a basis for the entire country,” Sunkuli said.
Kiambu Water, Environment and Natural Resources Executive Esther Njuguna who represented counties at Tuesday’s launch said the county was committed to blazing the trail in that regard.
“We have a model sanitary landfill and I think it’s the first in this region where we have a semi-aerobic landfill. The technology is from Japan. We’ve been working with UN Habitat so that we can be able to develop that. So in the next maybe one or two months, we’re going to have a launch of that pilot project with a recycling plant” Njuguna said.
“Even if the product is so good, two things are very important: one is security, the second one is cleanliness. If the destination is not clean tourism will never grow. So as part of boosting the economic aspirations of Kenya, clearing our highways and neighbourhoods is paramount,” Sunkuli added in advice to county governments.