Does your project require an EIA?

Written by
Dr Ayub Macharia

In 1999, the Kenyan parliament passed the Environmental Management and Coordination Act (EMCA). Section 58 of EMCA stipulates that every development project undertake Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) before commencement. In 2003, the Environmental Impact Assessment and Audit regulations were gazetted to operationalize section 58 of EMCA (1999). Here below is a list of projects that require an EIA license.
High-risk projects are expected to submit EIA study reports to NEMA
A. HHigh risk projects are those that have
➢ Significant adverse environmental impacts, sensitive, cumulative, and unprecedented.
➢ Potentially major impacts on human populations
➢ With resettlement components
➢ Affect indigenous populations
➢ May affect an area broader than the sites or facilities subject to physical works.
➢ The impacts of these projects are likely to be irreversible.
➢ The mitigatory measures of these projects can be complex.
B. Specific projects includes
1. Urban Development including:-
a) Designation of new townships;
b) Establishment or expansion of industrial estates;
c) Establishment or expansion of recreational areas in National Parks, National reserves; forest and Nature reserves and any areas designated as environmentally sensitive;
d) Establishment of Shopping centers, commercial centers and complexes;
e) Establishment of Hospitals;
f) Hotels with a bed capacity exceeding 150
g) Establishment of new housing estate developments exceeding 200 housing units;
h) Establishment of site and service schemes
i) Establishment of learning institutions
j) Other related urban developments.
2. Transportation and related infrastructure projects including:-
a) All new major roads including trunk roads;
b) Railway lines;
c) Airports, airfields;
d) Oil and gas pipelines;
e) Harbors and ports
f) Construction of tunnels and channels
g) Metro transport facilities
h) Underground transport works
3. Water resources and related infrastructure including:-
a) Storage dams and barrages;
b) River diversions and water transfer between catchments;
c) Flood control schemes;
d) Sea walls
e) Water abstraction works
4. Mining and other related activities, including –
a) Precious metals;
b) Salt firms
c) Gemstones;
d) Ferrous and non-ferrous ores;
e) Coal;
f) Phosphates;
g) Limestone and dolomite;
h) Quarrying of stone and slate;
i) Harvesting of aggregate, sand, gravel, soil and clay;
j) Exploration for the production of petroleum and minerals in any form;
5. Forestry related activities including –
a) Clearance of forest areas;
b) Reforestation and afforestation with alien species.
c) Introduction of alien species
d) Excisions of gazetted forests;
e) Conversion of forests for whatever purposes
f) Any projects located within forest reserve such as construction of dams or other control structures that flood large areas of relatively undegraded areas.
6. Agriculture including –
a) Aerial spraying
b) Large-scale agriculture exceeding 40Ha;
c) Introduction of new crops and animals;
d) Large scale Irrigation exceeding 100Ha.
e) Major developments in biotechnology including the introduction and testing of genetically modified organisms.
f) Biofuel plantations
7. Processing and manufacturing industries including –
a) Mineral/ores refining and processing;
b) Large scale brick and earth ware manufacture;
c) Cement manufacturing plants and lime processing;
d) Glass works;
e) Fertilizer manufacture or processing;
f) Explosive plants;
g) Tanneries;
h) Abattoirs (more than 100 animals/day) and meat-processing plants;
i) Brewing and malting;
j) Bulk grain processing and storage plants;
k) Large scale fish-processing plants;
l) Pulp and paper mills;
m) Heavy manufacturing plants;
n) Lead smelting and processing plants;
o) Edible oil plants
p) Steel mills
q) Sugar factories
r) Any other chemical works and process plants;
8. Power and infrastructure projects –
a) Thermal and hydropower development (exceeding 10MW);
b) Geothermal development;
c) Wind farms;
d) Nuclear reactors and nuclear plants
e) High voltage electrical transmission lines;
9. Hydrocarbon projects including –
a) Bulk storage facilities for hydrocarbons
b) Bulk storage of natural gas
c) Oil and gas fields development (offshore and onshore)
d) Oil refineries and petro-chemical works;
10. Waste disposal including –
a) Sewerage works and waste water treatment plants
b) Installation for disposal of industrial wastes
c) Installation of incinerators
d) Sanitary Landfill sites
e) Hazardous wastes treatments or disposal facilities
f) Facilities involved in solid or liquid hazardous waste
g) Sludge treatment facility
h) Recycling of e-waste
i) Waste oil recycling facilities
j) Waste tire recycling facilities
k) Commercial asbestos disposal site
11. Activities in Natural conservation areas including –
a) Establishment of protected areas, buffer zones and wilderness areas;
b) Actions likely to affect endangered species of flora and fauna
c) Formulation or modification of forest management projects;
d) Formulation or modification of water catchment management projects;
e) Projects for the management of ecosystems, especially by use of fire;
f) Commercial exploitation of natural fauna and flora;
g) Introduction of alien species of fauna and flora into ecosystems
h) Wetlands reclamation and or any projects likely to affect wetlands
i) Projects located in indigenous forest including those outside of gazette forests
12. Marine resource exploitation and reclamation;
a) Mineral exploitation of resources in the marine areas
b) Reclamation of marine areas
c) Mariculture
Medium risk projects are expected to submit EIA project reports to NEMA
A. Medium risk projects are those that have:-
➢ Potential adverse impacts on human populations or environmentally sensitive areas;
➢ The impacts of these projects are less severe and site specific;
➢ Knowledge/information of the negative impacts is available;
➢ The impacts can be readily mitigated against.
B. Specific projects include:–
1. Urban Development including:-
a) Establishment of new housing developments.
b) Tourism and related infrastructure
c) Hotels
d) Shopping centers, commercial centers and complexes, business premises, shops and stores not exceeding 10,000 square meters.
2. Transportation including:-
a) Construction and rehabilitation of roads including collectors and access roads.
b) Construction of a light rail transit
c) Construction of jetties, marinas, piers and pontoons
d) Rehabilitation works of airport, airstrips
e) Helipads
f) Parking facilities
g) Construction of bridges
3. Water resources and infrastructure:-
a) Drilling for purposes of utilizing ground water resources and related infrastructure
b) Water abstraction works
c) Water supply and distribution infrastructures
4. Artisanal Mining, including quarrying of –
a) Precious metals and gemstones;
b) Limestone and dolomite;
c) Harvesting of aggregate, sand, gravel, soil, clay, stone and slate;
d) Gypsum
e) Pozollana
f) Carbon dioxide
g) Ferrous and non-Ferrous ores;
5. Forestry related activities including –
a) Timber harvesting;
b) Reforestation and afforestation.
c) Wood preservation/treatment facilities
6. Agriculture and related activities;
a) Medium-scale agriculture;
b) Medium size grain storage
c) Medium size agricultural and livestock produce storage facilities
d) Aquaculture
e) Medium Scale Irrigation projects
7. Medium scale Processing and manufacturing industries including –
a) Brick and earthware manufacture;
b) Abattoirs and meat-processing plants;
c) fish-processing plants;
d) plants for the construction or repair of aircrafts or railway equipment;
e) Plants for the manufacture of tanks, reservoirs and sheet-metal containers;
f) Plants for manufacturing or recycling of plastics/paper;
g) Plants for manufacturing pharmaceuticals;
h) Plants for the manufacture of coal briquettes;
i) Distilleries;
j) any other food-processing plants/agro-based processing plants;
k) Go-downs – For storage or warehouses only
8. Power and infrastructure projects –
a) Hydropower development (not exceeding 10MW);
b) Electrical sub-stations;
c) Pumped-storage schemes;
d) Cogeneration of power;
e) Low voltage power transmission lines
f) Solar power farms/plants
9. Hydrocarbons including –
a) Service Stations
b) LPG filling plant
c) Lubricant blending facilities
10. Waste disposal including –
a) Waste transfer stations/storage facilities
b) Composting sites/plants
c) Removal and disposal of asbestos
11. Hospitals (Without Mortuaries)
12. Medium scale Incinerators with a capacity not exceeding 100kg/day
13. Packaged treatment plants/onsite waste water treatment plants
14. Biofuels processing plants
15. Telecommunication infrastructures
16. Expansion of Tertiary institutions and related infrastructures
Low risk projects are expected to submit EIA project reports to NEMA
1. Low risk projects are those that:-
➢ Are likely to have minimal adverse environmental impacts.
➢ Projects impacts that are easily mitigated
➢ Projects designed for positive environmental and social uplifting projects
2. Specific projects includes:–
➢ Residential houses (bungalows, Maisonettes, flats) of not more than 30 units.
➢ Establishment of places of worship (churches, mosques etc.)
➢ Community based and social uplifting projects; sport facilities, stadium, social halls
➢ Community water projects including boreholes, water pans, sand dams and sub-surface dams
➢ Dispensaries, Health centers, Clinics
➢ Livestock holding grounds, cattle dips
➢ Expansion or rehabilitation of markets
➢ Perimeter walls
➢ Car and Bus parks
➢ Local Roads and facility access roads
➢ Business Premises (Shops, Stores, Urban Market sheds)
➢ Cottage industry/jua kali sector/garages
➢ Rehabilitation, maintenance, and modernization projects (small scale)
➢ School and related infrastructure

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