By Mutugi Josiah
The County Assembly of Kirinyaga has prescribed tough new measures to manage garbage, which includes fines of up to Kshs.300, 000 for failure to segregate solid waste and transporting it in open trucks.
Traders and industries have also been slapped with waste collection levies ranging from Sh300 to Sh5, 000 for cleaning up after the Assembly passed the Kirinyaga County Solid Waste Management Bill, 2020.
Private hospitals and nursing homes, which generally generate medical waste, will pay Kshs. 4,000 per month in new levies while large industries will cough Sh5,000 per year to help the devolved unit in refuse management.
The Bill, which was read for the Third time on Monday, 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 offence 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.
The same penalties applies to transporters of solid waste who litter the roads when waste is blown off by wind on transit to dump sites.
In a sitting Chaired by 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 Hon. Elisha Mwangi.
Hon. Njeru further noted that environment related matters comprise one of the biggest challenges of the twenty first century and that it is one of the most legislated subjects in the world.
In support of the Bill, Hon. 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 management of highest sustainable standards in solid waste management by ensuring there were contracts for provision of services to collect and transport waste.
Further, for the first time, electronic waste, commonly known as 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.
Owners of houses will also be required to maintain cleanliness for a radius of ten metres of their premises while 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 colour 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. There are restrictions as to those who will not heed to these regulations to make our county clean” said Simon Waititu in supporting the Bill.
The Bill will be submitted to the Governor for assent before it is gazetted to become law.