Kenya

Submitted by National Environment Management Authority
Summary of information
Highest priority waste streams
1. Industrial waste; municipal solid waste; healthcare waste
Highest priority areas of capacity building
1. Policy and regulatory; institutional
2. Technical and scientific; financial
Narrative summary
Kenya (National Environment Management Authority)’s responses to the needs assessment survey show that policy-making and institutional capacities need to be developed. Policies and regulations exist for some important waste streams, such as healthcare waste, and not for others, such as industrial waste. The lack of policy harmonization between authorities, however, is shown to be an important concern especially for MSW management. The responses also suggest that the country’s technical and financial capacity in a number of waste streams needs to be developed, in order for treatment facilities to be built and equipment to be procured.

Industrial waste
Industrial waste management is considered a high priority area for capacity-building in Kenya. The most immediate task faced is to develop a policy and regulatory framework for industrial waste, given that no legislation currently exists, and institutions responsible for waste management do not coordinate their efforts. Nevertheless, progress is detectable, as policies for waste oils and asbestos are currently being drafted. A better technical and scientific understanding of industrial waste management is also needed to support the development of policies, while funds are needed to set up facilities.

Municipal solid waste (MSW)
MSW management is also considered a high priority area for capacity-building in Kenya. Most importantly, coordination between institutions in policy-making needs to be improved. MSW policies and regulations set by local authorities and the Environment Agency are different to each other, and harmonization is necessary. Kenya also needs to improve its technical capacity to manage MSW. The construction of incinerators, energy recovery facilities, recycling and composting centers is needed, although poor funding remains a concern. Finally, there is little awareness of the potential of MSW as an economic resource and the potential for sound management to create jobs. Waste segregation, in particular, should be introduced to the public.

Healthcare waste
Healthcare waste is also considered a high priority area for capacity-building in Kenya. Although healthcare waste policies and institutions exist, funds and technical capacity remain low. Funds are required to maintain and expand healthcare waste infrastructure such as autoclaves and incinerators, while better research is needed on effective waste segregation and disposal methods. Public awareness on the hazards of mismanaged waste could also be improved, while cooperation between governmental and healthcare institutions could be strengthened.

Waste plastics
Regarding waste plastics, Kenya needs to strengthen its policy framework and institutional cooperation. No policies and regulations on waste plastics exist at the national level, and there are few partnerships with the private sector in establishing treatment and recycling facilities. Although some policies exist at the regional level, they are not sufficient, and a national policy and partnership framework is required. Policies should include awareness-raising activities in local communities on the environmental, economic and social impact of mismanaged waste. Economic incentives for the recycling and re-use of plastics should also be developed, with the aim of phasing out the use of certain products such as thin plastic films. Finally, research can also be undertaken in Kenya for the alternative use of waste plastics, such as conversion into fuels.

Hazardous waste
Hazardous waste is addressed by effective measures such as the Polluter Pays principle in Kenya. The procurement of funds for the management of the waste stream is generally adequate. However, steps still need to be taken to minimize hazardous waste generation, such as improving public awareness of its risks to health and the environment. The Environmental Agency is responsible for hazardous waste policy enforcement, but better cooperation with other waste management institutions in the country is also desirable.

E-waste
E-waste management efforts in Kenya are in infancy. There are no policies and regulations specifically addressing e-waste, although they are currently being developed, and different institutions will be put in charge of the waste stream. Funds have also not yet been made available to set up e-waste management infrastructure. Waste collection, storage, transportation and disposal facilities (and potential recycling and recovery facilities) currently do not exist specifically for this waste stream. Nevertheless, more research is still required in order to assess the challenges and opportunities provided by e-waste in the country, and public concern over mismanaged e-waste is still low.

Waste agricultural biomass (WAB)
There are no policies and regulations on the use of WAB in Kenya, and institutions are currently not cooperating on addressing the waste stream. A policy framework thus needs to be developed. The framework needs to allocate funds to WAB management, allowing for the use of WAB as a resource. The framework also needs to outline mechanisms to promote the opportunities associated with WAB use to the agricultural sector.

Organic waste
In Kenya, policies on organic waste exist, but they are neither effective nor detailed, and need to be updated. There is little public awareness of the uses of organic waste, including its use in organic farming and health benefits. Funds need to be made available to the organic agriculture sector in order for technical capacity to be built and the use of organic waste to become economically viable.