The Government is banking on promoting entrepreneurship in waste management and enhanced enforcement to end the perennial garbage problem in the country .
Cabinet Secretary in charge of Environment, Climate Change and Forestry Soipan Tuya said promotion of waste recycling and reuse has become a more practical approach to solid waste management adding that with the increasing cost of raw materials, recycling provides a cheaper source for manufacturing industries.
Tuya said the government was working with devolved units to provide an enabling environment for investments in recycling as business ventures and encouraging industry operators to set up recycling schemes for wastes including aluminum cans, bottles, and polythene materials.
Speaking at the Lake Nakuru National Park during celebrations to mark the World Environment Day the CS noted that waste recycling, offered an opportunity for exploitation as a business venture not only for income generation and job creation but also as a mitigation measure against environmental degradation in the low-income areas.
“The recycling of solid and organic waste has positive ramifications for informal employment and offers an environmentally sound solution to waste management problems. Given that there is considerable demand for recyclables, recycling and resource recovery offers good scope for income generation,” she pointed out.
Tuya added that her Ministry was committed to organizing individuals eking a living out of dumpsites into cooperatives as a way of empowering them to turn waste into wealth.
She advised County enforcement officers to ensure that waste from the source is first transferred to a substation where it is sorted and whatever ends up at the dumpsite is what is not needed.
The CS challenged both the public and private sectors to reinvent their activities and come up with innovative solutions that will not only move their businesses to the next level but also help them tap into the opportunities that lie waiting within climate adaptation as well as mitigation.
“New and tested technologies are critical in cutting down greenhouse gas emissions and enabling mankind to adapt to the now clear changes in the climate. Whereas it may seem to be costly, sustained investment in climate-smart innovations has an overall low cost and will be needed to meet global climate goals,” stated the Cabinet Secretary.
During the event themed ‘Solutions to Plastic Waste’ the Cabinet Secretary observed that like many countries in sub-Saharan Africa, Kenya has been experiencing extreme weather, including floods, lake backflows and drought.
“Climate is what makes us survive, and any threat to it means a threat to our very existence. The three broad areas of focus at the conference will be increasing investments in renewable sources of energy, Green Manufacturing and curtailing deforestation,” said Ms Tuya.
An average of 45 per cent of waste goes uncollected in six major towns across the country, according to an official report by the National Environmental Complaints Committee.
Nairobi, Kisumu, Thika, Nakuru, Mombasa and Eldoret towns generate an estimated 6,000 tonnes of waste daily. However, only 3,962 tonnes are collected while over 2,000 tonnes remain uncollected.
According to the report, Mombasa tops the list with 770 tonnes of uncollected waste although 65 per cent of the 2,200 tonnes of generated waste is collected daily.
Kisumu County leads in those with the least effort being made to collect daily generated garbage.
Only 20 per cent is collected, according to the report, leaving 80 tonnes uncollected.
Nairobi tops the list in active waste collection – 80 per cent of the daily generated garbage is collected.
However, 240 tons of waste still goes uncollected.
Other towns including Eldoret leave behind 270 tonnes daily while Thika and Nakuru leave 60 and 138 tons respectively.
Report by Dennis Rasto