A brief look at the new enacted Sustainable Waste Management Act

President Uhuru Kenyatta signed into law the Sustainable Waste Management Act on 6th July 2022. The act is a culmination of several years’ worth of process of coming up with a robust framework for sustainable waste management in Kenya. How does the law affect you?

Here is how

Organizations

Public and private entities will be required to:

  • Segregate all non-hazardous waste into organic and non-organic waste through color-coded
    bins/bag/containers. Noncompliance attracts Ksh 20,000 fine or 6 months in jail or both.
  • Use licensed waste collectors for transporting and disposing of the waste to licensed facilities.
  • The head of a public/private entity is personally liable to pay a fine of 1m or 1 year in jail or both for improper waste disposal by the public/private entity. The individual in the public/private entity who discharges waste illegally pays a fine of ksh 200,000 or 6 months in jail.
  • Prepare a Waste Management Plan every 3 years and submit yearly reports. Noncompliance attracts Ksh 200,000 fine and the person responsible 3 months in jail.
  • Segregate hazard and non-hazard waste. Noncompliance by a private entity attracts fine equal to 5% of previous year’s net income or 5m whichever is higher. The responsible officers pay Ksh 200,000 fine and Ksh 20,000 daily until compliance.

Additionally, manufacturers and producers will be required to be a part of an Extended Producer Responsibility compliance scheme.

The public and service providers

On the other end:

  • Members of the public will be required to segregate waste in the house into wet organic and dry mixed. Noncompliance attracts ksh 20,000 fine or 6 months in jail or both.
  • Waste service providers will need to be registered, only transport waste that is segregated and ensure their employees observe set health, safety and environmental standards. Transporting waste that is not segregated attracts Ksh 50,000 fine or 6 months in jail or both.

Authorities

The national and county governments have been tasked with activating provisions of the act, providing guidance, infrastructure and incentives. NEMA will still be in charge of enforcement. Conflicts and complaints will be handled by a committee and tribunal.

A Waste Management Council will be created and be operationalized within a year of the act being signed.

Conflicts

The National Environment Tribunal will address disputes that arise on NEMA orders. The National Environment Complaints Committee will handle complaints that arise out of the provisions of the act.