- The move has bolstered the ongoing efforts to clean up the heavily polluted Nairobi River basin
- Nema gave the directive following the companies's failure to comply with extended producer responsibility as per the provisions of the Sustainable Waste Management Act 2022
The National Environment Management Authority has tasked 29 companies to clean up their mess from the environment.
The order has bolstered the ongoing efforts to clean up the heavily polluted Nairobi River basin.
Nema gave the directive following the companies' failure to comply with extended producer responsibility as per the provisions of the Sustainable Waste Management Act 2022.
The Act, enacted on July 6, 2022, has provisions known as extended producer responsibility that hold producers responsible for polluting the environment.
This is a departure from the past, when public members were solely held responsible for littering.
The restoration order came after Nema officers carried out inspections on various points within the Nairobi River catchment on January 18.
“The inspection team established that there were assorted synthetic wastes along the Ngong River (Likoni area) and Nairobi River (Rounder area-Outer Ring Road), part of which bore your identity as a producer,” said Nema director general Mamo Mamo, in a restoration order to the Director of Brookside, dated January 22.
He said the company waste that had accumulated in the rivers, interfered with water flow and posed a potential threat of flooding and water pollution.
“This is likely to have adverse environmental effects on the sensitive Nairobi River ecosystem,” Mamo said.
The Constitution of Kenya 2010 lists environment as a right and fundamental freedom under Article 42 and provides that every person has a right to a clean and healthy environment.
Section 13 (1) of the Sustainable Waste Management Act, 2022, requires every producer to reduce pollution and environmental impacts of the products they introduce into the Kenyan market and waste arising therefrom.
“Section 30 (1) states that a person who fails to manage waste in accordance with this Act shall be required to clean up and restore the site, where the waste was being managed to its natural state,” Mamo said.
“Section 32 states that a person who contravenes a provision of this Act for which a penalty has not been prescribed shall, on conviction, be liable to a fine of not less than Sh2 million and not more than Sh4 million or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding four years or both.”
Brookside has been given 30 days to clean up the waste and restore the environment to its natural or near-natural state.
The company has also been ordered to submit to the authority an EPR plan for the management of waste emanating from their products and packaging for the Nairobi River catchment region.
Should the company feel aggrieved by the order, it has a right to appeal the decision at the National Environment Tribunal.
British American Tobacco has also received similar orders for polluting the Ngong River (Likoni area).
The two companies join a long list of other companies that are now under the scrutiny of Nema.
Ndhiwa Sukari Industries, Pearl Dairy Farm Limited, Kenya Tea Packers, Mini Bakeries (NRB) and Mjengo Limited, among others, have received similar restoration orders.
They will now have to clear their mess before reporting to the authority, demonstrating measures taken to ensure that their products and packaging do not pollute the environment.
Last week, the Nairobi River Commission raised concerns over the continuous dumping of waste into the Nairobi River.
Commission CEO Brigadier Joseph Muracia said a truck driver was recently arrested by county officials for dumping waste into the river.
“We are trying to see the best way to address this challenge,” he said in a phone interview.
The commission, which is tasked with coordinating initiatives meant to protect, restore, rehabilitate and beautify the rivers and water bodies within the Nairobi Rivers Basin into vibrant spines for blue and green infrastructure, has since developed an action plan.
The exercise's thematic focus areas include catchment protection and restoration, mapping and reclamation of riparian land, waste to rivers, drainage and hydrology.
The cleanup operation covers Nairobi, Kiambu, Kajiado, Machakos, and Makueni counties.
Already, the commission has pulled some 4,450 tonnes of waste from sections of the river.
The waste has since been moved to Dandora.
A distance of 6.5 km of the river has been cleared.
The commission needs approximately Sh22 billion to immediately address solid waste, sewerage and industrial waste challenges.
This is in addition to developing the necessary infrastructure and addressing catchment protection and riparian mapping.
To address solid waste in Nairobi, more than Sh900 million is needed; Kiambu (Sh486 million), Kajiado (Sh516 million), Machakos (Sh647 million) and Makueni (Sh433 million).
This brings the total amount of solid waste management to more than Sh3 billion.
To address sewerage in Nairobi, Sh964 million is needed; Kiambu (Sh2 billion), Kajiado (Sh725 million), Machakos (Sh304 million) and Makueni (Sh450 million), all amounting to more than Sh4 billion.
The major actors in the cleanup include the national government and the county governments of Nairobi, Kiambu, Kajiado, Machakos, and Makueni.
Others are the ministries of Water, Sanitation, and irrigation.
The Ministry of Environment, Land, Interior and Defense are also actors.
The State Department of Devolution, the Water Resource Authority, NYS, AWWDA, Nema, Kenha, Kura, Kerra, NWHSA, county water utility companies and the National Disaster Operations Centre are also actors.
The commission is also in the process of setting up a joint multi-agency operations centre.