The Constitution of Kenya 2010 enhanced momentum on waste management. Article 42 assures Kenyans of a clean and healthy environment as a basic right.
It also tasks the government to eliminate all processes and activities that degrade the environment. Lastly, Schedule 4 devolves domestic waste management to counties.
The Environmental Management and Coordination Act CAP 387 and the associated Waste Management Regulations 2006 provides the framework used in waste management in Kenya.
However, this legal framework is not enough to address the waste menace. This is a result of emerging waste regimes such as e-waste and devolved governance. This has resulted in gaps in terms of relevant policy, legislation, strategies and implementation mechanisms of the same.
The Ministry of Environment and Forestry has taken a number of initiatives on waste management. The Ministry has over the years constituted several committees to oversee waste management issues. This committee aims at preparing a Waste Management Policy and Bill. This will harmonize the provisions of the constitution and existing laws including the lessons learnt over the years.
The bill and policy seeks to deliver a strategic and harmonized approach to engaging all stakeholders in waste management.
The Waste Management Bill and Policy was developed through a highly consultative process. An expert on waste management was appointed to develop a draft of the National Solid Waste Management Bill and policy.
The draft was then subjected to several consultative meetings to solicit for stakeholder comments. These were used to improve the draft. County CECs and Chief Officers were also gave their views regarding the draft Bill. The draft was finalized and uploaded onto the Ministry’s website for public viewing and comments in February 2018.
Highlights of the Bill and Policy
The National Waste Management Bill and policy addresses waste issues not captured in EMCA 1999 (Amended 2015) but are in line with it. Some of the key highlights include:
- Establishment of a Waste Management Directorate at the Ministry of Environment and Forestry. This is the department tasked with coordinating policy and intergovernmental relations on waste management issues.
- Establishment of a Waste Fund to finance waste management issues at the National and County levels.
- Delineates roles of the National Government, County Government and NEMA who are the key players in waste management.
- Establishment of knowledge management system and ease of access to information by public on waste management.
- Provides for requirement for an elaborate Public Participation process in decision making on waste management.
- Establishment of extended producer Responsibility and Take Back Schemes for waste generators.
- Recommends for Implementation of the Polluter Pays Principle even at individual level.
- Advocates for incentives for the private sector for investment in waste management and tax relief for waste management equipment
- Imposes high penalties for improper waste disposal and breach of the law.
- Reiterates the requirement for sufficient land to be designated as waste receptacles by County Governments.
- Encourages expansion of investment opportunities in sustainable waste management especially in waste collection, separation, treatment, processing, recovery and sanitary final disposal facilities by counties.
- Establishment of a national waste information system for the recording, collection, management and analysis of data and information
- Recommends for addition of a sustainable waste management module in the Education System at all levels.
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- Requirement for development of County Waste Management Action Plans and implementation of the same, funded through the Waste Fund.
- Urges County governments to take advantage of economies of scale and partner in waste management.
- Ensure cities plan for landfill construction as part of city expansion
- Reporting annually to the Waste Management Directorate and the County Assembly on the implementation of the County Waste Management Act and regulations.
- Promotes adoption of cleaner production practices
- Each county shall establish an award scheme for citizens who credibly bring to the authority cases of illegal dumping and littering.
- Cabinet Secretary may establish an award scheme for recognition of owners or operators of waste collection, separation, recycling and composting facilities whose innovation, efficiency or compliance status has been exemplary.
- Establish a public website where citizens can forward their complaints on matters related to waste management.