HEFTY FINES

Nema takes producers to task for goods that pollute habitat

They're targeting post-consumer stage of a product's life cycle

In Summary

• Materials subjected to EPR include composites, agricultural film, batteries, oils and lubricants, plastic and rubber, and aluminum products.

• In addition to glass, electrical and electronic equipment, furniture, paper and cartons, mercury auto switches and thermostats, paints, and pharmaceutical products, including packaging and textiles, will also be subjected to EPR

Nairobi county government officials walk into Dandora dumpsite after the launch of a cleanup with NYS in December last year.
Nairobi county government officials walk into Dandora dumpsite after the launch of a cleanup with NYS in December last year.
Image: FILE

The National Environment Management Authority has taken the war against pollution of the environment to producers’ doorsteps after the agency proposed fines of up to Sh5 million.

Nema director of compliance Dr Ayub Macharia says the producer will now be held responsible for pollution.

“Unlike in the past, when a member of the public was the only one held responsible for littering, the producers can now be held liable to demonstrate measures taken to ensure that their products and packaging do not pollute the environment,” he says.

Macharia says the Sustainable Waste Management Act 2022 places the responsibility for pollution on the producer by introducing a new concept known as Extended Producer Responsibility.

The law was enacted on July 6, 2022. It has provisions that seek to promote sustainable waste management and improve the health of Kenyans.

This is done by ensuring a clean and healthy environment.

The law also seeks to reduce air, land, freshwater and marine pollution and ensure the effective delivery of waste services.

It defines Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) as an environmental management approach where the producer’s responsibility is extended to the post-consumer stage of a product's life cycle.

Macharia says Section 13(1) of the Act tasks every producer to bear extended producer obligations to reduce pollution and environmental impacts of the products they introduce into the Kenyan market and waste arising therefrom.

“Every producer shall fulfil their extended producer responsibility obligations individually or collectively in a compliance scheme,” Macharia says.

The Act defines a producer as an entity that introduces goods, products, and packaging into the country using authorised means by manufacturing, importing, converting, filling, refilling, repackaging or rebranding.

“The producers are obligated, just like other waste generators, to ensure that their products and associated waste are appropriately managed,” Macharia says.

He said in the past, littering of the environment went unpunished if the owner of the space or the polluter was unknown.

Section 13 of the Act says a label on a product or packaging prescribes who is responsible for pollution.

Macharia says Section 4 of the Waste Management Regulations 2006 provides for the responsibility of the waste generator.

The section provides that “no person shall dispose of any waste on a public highway, street, road, recreational area or in any public place except in a designated waste receptacle”.

It says a waste generator shall collect, segregate and dispose of such waste in the manner provided for under these regulations.

“A prosecution script is already set by joining the dots, whereby SWM Act 2022 Section 13 will be read together with Section 4 of the Waste Management Regulations 2006,” Macharia says.

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