No more blame, but responsibility in our small ways

Written by
Dr Ayub Macharia
Clean your backyard

Clean your backyard

With so many complaints about garbage disposal in our urban centres, waste management is now a topic of concern. There needs to be solutions to this daily predicament for our people need to live in a greener and more healthier, friendly zones.
It is everybody’s wish that our urban areas are maintained clean. But this can only be possible if we all become responsible citizens. Fact is, some of the things that we use daily pose negative impacts on our world especially if not properly disposed.
The first step to ensuring that we keep the environment clean, safe and healthy is to ensure that waste material that is recyclable is collected and processed in some way. This is one of the quickest, easiest and least expensive ways of handling the ever growing problem of waste material lying on our roads and estates.
Owing to the fact that residential waste is quite different from industrial waste, waste within the city area takes different forms. For example when you take a lazy walk along the famous Jogoo road, you will notice all kinds of garbage; from solid waste material, to liquid and in some cases gaseous emissions from the industrial area in the neighborhood.
The waste collection methods can therefore vary greatly. But first, it is the Constitutional responsibility of County governments to ensure that residential garbage is sorted at source, collected regularly and appropriate decisions made regarding either processing the waste further or disposal. Only that waste that cannot be processed further that should be safely disposed at designated disposal sites such as incinerators or sanitary landfills. It is important to note that Kenya has numerous licensed incinerators and hence as a country can safely dispose those problematic and hazardous samples. The country only lacks sanitary landfills where the final soot from incinerators or those hazardous wastes that could not be incinerated could be disposed appropriately.
Moving on, as much as it is the responsibility of our county governors to ensure that urban areas are safe and clean, we should all participate in our small ways to deal with the problem. The Environmental Management Coordination (Waste Management) regulations (2006) has prescribed what the waste generators, transporters, handlers and operators of disposal sites should do. Each of us has a role to play in waste management. For instance a waste generator (me and you) should sort waste at source and ensure that we do not dispose our waste in areas not permitted by the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA). Waste transporters should ensure they use the right vessels and dispose the waste in appropriate receptacles. Waste handlers should ensure that they wear appropriate gears, process as many waste types as possible, and not pollute the environment.
Bottom line is, we should all join forces and stop putting blames. Let us all police each other as well as the environment, report and take action (legal, eco-management among others) to safeguard our urban areas. If we all work together, we can eradicate this problem before it gets out of control. After all, when it comes to making our country safer and environmentally friendly, we all must play a part.
Additional insights from Janet

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