Enforce rules on e-waste, CS Tuya orders counties
Environment, Climate Change and Forestry Cabinet Secretary Soipan Tuya has warned against continued dumping of electronic waste- citing continued health risks.
She challenged the National Environment Management Authority (Nema) and county governments to enforce rules on e-waste dumping even as the government works on tougher e-waste regulations.
Speaking in Mombasa yesterday during the opening of the Africa regional meeting on E-waste management and organic pollutants, the CS said devolved units have the sole mandate of managing the waste and need to live up to the task by ensuring proper management and disposal of e-waste.
“Let us be practical on matters of electronic waste management. The consequences are un-imaginable because this is the sole mandate of counties. We need to see them doing what they are supposed to do,” she said noting that when electronics are improperly disposed of and end up in landfills, toxic chemicals are released, impacting the earth’s air, soil, water and ultimately, human health.
Tuya said the government is leading the way by building a modern E-waste plant in Konza city.
“We have a long way to go in e-waste management as a country, and in Africa. Kenya in partnership with World Bank, Konza city and Nema have come together to establish state of the art E-waste recycling plant,” Tuya affirmed.
The Sh850 million, five-year programme will help strengthen institutional capacity, regulatory frameworks and help in setting up a model for E-waste management.
She said the government is now contemplating remodeling ongoing programmes so that they can speak directly to the bottom up economic transformation agenda. She said all projects should speak to job creation needs, food security and contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
“One of the challenges we have in the country is that we have huge donor funding in huge magnitudes, but when you look at how they are contributing to government priorities, there is a huge gap. It’s time that we need to sit with development partners, to ensure the monies that come inform of funding speaks to our government agenda,” she said.
Tuya regretted that the electronic waste menace is continuously becoming a health threat to communities translating to a health burden amongst the Kenyan population, children being the most affected especially those doing artisanal mining.
“We have an opportunity to turn around waste dumping to become an economic opportunity, there is a huge potential in the untapped sector, by uplifting the lives of those dependent on waste to earn a living,” said Tuya.
Nema director general Mamo Mamo regretted that the agency is struggling with electronic waste pollution with an annual generation of 51.3 million tonnes of electronic waste.
Mombasa Deputy Governor Francis Thoya called for full implementation of E-Waste laws and policies to ensure a safe and healthy environment.
“One of the things we are keen to see is the process of setting up material recovery processes, and how fast do we accelerate these projects in the counties,” said Thoya.