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NGO, media partner to sensitize public on waste management

Complex Urban Systems for Sustainability and Health (CUSSH), has partnered with journalists to ensure proper sensitization and advocacy, on the handling of wastes in Kisumu’s informal settlements.

The increase of solid waste in the city’s slums has become a major environment challenge and the involvement of the media in managing the waste is considered crucial.

The programme dubbed Urban Waste Management System mainly focuses on solid wastes and will be implemented in Nyalenda, Manyatta, and Obunga slums in Kisumu.

CUSSH has so far involved the youth and women through groups in programmes that make them earn a living as they help in environmental conservation.

“We have mapped out close to 24 women groups in our informal settlements to help in keeping our environment clean and by doing so, also earn their daily bread,” stated Dr. Isabella Asamba.

Dr. Asamba said that involving women in waste management is key, since they play a vital role, adding that the settlements are densely populated and most of the residents were women.

15 journalists from different media houses in a summit are working with CUSSH.

The media plays a crucial role in behavioral change, attitude and belief, therefore, repeated media campaigns on solid waste management were encouraged.

Kisumu East Environment Officer, Susan Omwa, said the County Government has made great strides in managing solid wastes in the county, saying that County is working tirelessly to ensure a proper environment for the residents.

“The County Government has managed 30 per cent so far. 60-70 per cent of waste collection is organic. There are many setbacks, including the Kachok issue, but will soon be addressed,” revealed Omwa.

Reusing and recycling solid materials was highly encouraged by Kisumu County Director of Climate Change, Evans Gichana, who added that enhancing the biogas plant system would help a great deal.

“Let us embrace reusing and recycling, so that we minimize solid wastes as we build a circular economy. The media and all of us should promote the biogas system which is very healthy as it produces clean energy,” said Gichana.

Gichana added that in collaboration with various stakeholders, the government is determined to have the policies and programs in place implemented.

The policies include Kisumu County Solid Waste Management Policy 2020(KCSWMP), Kisumu County Environment Policy 2019 (KCEP), and the Kisumu Solid Waste Management Policy (KISWAP).

The media was acknowledged as important in creating initiatives for public awareness, advocacy, and information sharing.

Talk Shows, interviews, and publishing of written work, are the main ways in which the media would engage with the public to ensure proper sensitization and create know-how for the general public.

The Coordinator of the Community Empowerment and Media Initiative, Benard Okebe, stated that, a combined effort to save the environment was ideal and should be encouraged.

“We need to do more, call more people on board and engage with a larger group. This is key as solid wastes are becoming a headache. Let us champion for a clean environment, it is ours,” declared Okebe.

The Kisumu County Government has embarked on a project to open drainage systems along the Central Business District and ensure sanitation in the city in preparation for the upcoming Africities conference in May.

By Peter K’opiyo

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