The County Assembly of Kirinyaga has approved new measures to manage garbage. This includes fines of up to Sh300, 000 for failure to segregate solid waste and transporting it in open trucks.
Businesses and industries will also pay levies ranging from Sh300 to Sh5,000 for waste collection after the Assembly passed the Kirinyaga County Solid Waste Management Bill, 2020.
Private hospitals and nursing homes, which generally generate medical waste, will pay Sh4,000 monthly in new levies while large industries will cough Sh5,000 annually to help the devolved unit in garbage management.
The Bill, which is on Third Reading proposes that every refuse generator must separate waste into organic, plastics, paper, or metal category in containers prior to collection by licensed transporters.
“A person who commits an offense under this section shall upon conviction be liable to a fine not exceeding Sh300,000 or to an imprisonment of a term not exceeding three years or both” reads Section 22 (5) of the Bill.
In a sitting chaired by the Speaker, Anthony Gathumbi, Members supported the Bill noting that it would rid urban centers of waste and ensure the responsibility of managing solid waste starts at the production level.
“Solid waste management is a major problem for many urban areas or cities in Kenya, where urbanization, industrialization, and economic growth have resulted in increased solid waste generation per person,” noted Rose Njeru while moving the Second Reading of the Bill on behalf of the Environment Committee Chairperson Elisha Mwangi.
Njeru further noted that environment-related matters comprise one of the biggest challenges of the 21st century and added that it is one of the most legislated subjects in the world.
In support of the Bill, Caroline Muriithi said it was the collective responsibility of each person in the community to protect the environment.
The proposed law requires the County Executive to provide mechanisms for the management of the highest sustainable standards in solid waste management by ensuring there were contracts for the provision of services to collect and transport waste.
E-waste has been recognized as a major polluter and will be categorized on its own alongside market, industrial, hazardous, plastic, and biomedical wastes.
Kariti MCA and the Deputy Speaker, Joel Wagura said the Bill will provide a legal framework for the management of solid waste.
“I feel it will address the issues we have had on the management of solid waste in the county,” he pointed out.
The County Government has been obligated to provide waste collection containers in the streets.
Transporters will be required to provide waste bags fully branded in the company’s name complete with color codes for various wastes. Green for organic waste, blue for plastic/paper waste, and brown for any other waste.
“The county government has a responsibility of providing containers where garbage and other wastes will be collected.
The Bill will be submitted to the Governor for assent before it is gazetted to become law.
By Mutai Kipngetich