NAIROBI, Kenya Dec 7 – You will be charged Sh20, 000 or face six years in jail if you do not separate degradable and non degradable garbage, if the legal changes on waste management are adopted.
The bill dubbed ‘The Sustainable Waste Management Bill, 2021’ makes it compulsory to separate garbage into organic, dry and special waste ahead of collection from homes and businesses by licensed garbage firms.
The move is aimed at curbing environmental pollution that has seen Kenyans lose their lives. According to the State of the Global Air 2020 report, ambient air pollution was responsible for around 5000 premature deaths in Kenya in 2019 alone.
The changes approved by the National Assembly committee on Environment compels households to store garbage in three bins of green, yellow and blue where organic waste will be collected on green bins while dry and special waste will be collected on blue and yellow bins respectively.
“All citizens and residents in Kenya shall segregate waste at source in accordance with the subsection and whoever commits an offence and shall on conviction be liable to a fine not exceeding twenty thousand shillings or imprisonment not exceeding six months or both,” the Bill states.
The bill has also given county governments the mandate to license and regulate private garbage collectors.
According to the United Nations, Kenya is emerging as a leader in the fight against plastic pollution and is among the first countries in East Africa to limit single-use plastics and sign the Clean Seas initiative to rid waterways of plastic waste.
Juliette Biao, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Regional Director for Africa lauded the country for banning plastic bottles, cups and cutlery in its national parks last year, a move that followed a country-wide prohibition on plastic bags. She also called the country’s efforts to stem the flow of plastic into its waterways an important step in reducing marine litter.
“Kenya has invested heavily in both policies and law enforcement to win the fight against plastic pollution. The result of this investment is today boosting Kenya’s environmental stewardship in Africa and the world,” said Biao.
However, urban centres still struggle with garbage collection with heaps of garbage seen in many town streets.