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Kara in partnership with Hanns Siedel Foundation organized the 89th Bi-monthly Talk Forum on Tuesday, 8th June 2021.

The theme of the forum was“Circular economy approach to waste management in Kenya: opportunities, benefits and challenges.”Speakers who addressed the forum were, Ms. Joyce Gachugi, Country Manager, PETCO Kenya, Mr. Thomas Jensen, Sector Counsellor, Environment and Circular Economy, Royal Danish Embassy, Kenya, Dr Anne Omambia, Chief Compliance Officer/Climate Change Coordinator, National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) and Dr Chris Kiptoo, Principal Secretary, Ministry of Environment & Forestry.

Speaking at the forum, Ms. Joyce Gachugi, emphasized the need for circular economy approach to waste management through initiatives such as Extended Producer Responsibility. She shared a case study on a circular economy model on waste management that was implemented by PETCO in Nyayo Embakasi Estate. She stated that PETCO distributed waste receptacles (mesh bins for PET bottles) to allow segregation at source in Nyayo Embakasi Estate, which has a Population of 25,000 residents and 4,774 housing units. The receptacles are part of the process of closing the loop for post-consumer plastic waste and up scaling of domestic recycling of PET bottles using 3D technology in Kenya. She stated that PETCO will collaborate with KARA in up scaling the initiative in other residential estates across Kenya. 

Mr. Thomas Jensen, shared some of the global best practices on waste management and the success story of Denmark regarding waste management. He also share about the support Denmark is providing to Kenya to accelerate transition to circular economy. He stated that countries are focusing on circular economy approach to waste management because of environmental and commercial benefits of the approach. He explained that the Danish waste model is a comprehensive system covering a combination of administrative measures and regulations as well as economic measures on taxes and duties. He added that the Danish waste policy has also adopted the internationally recognized waste hierarchy principles of Circular Economy. He noted that Denmark is currently focusing on two areas in waste management i.e. Vision for the Green Waste Sector (Having Climate neutral waste sector in 2030) and National Target for Resource Management and Circular Economy. He also stated that the National Electronic Waste Data system has been established with the aim of strengthening knowledge about waste streams and waste flows in the country.

Dr. Anne Omambia said that environmental pollution management in Kenya is a state, organizational and citizenry mandate. She noted that the linear approaches in socio economic development and waste management in Kenya are unsustainable.  She stated that the main legislative framework governing solid waste management is the Environmental Management and Coordination Act (EMCA). The Act prohibits disposal of waste in a manner that causes pollution to the environment or ill health. It further regulates transportation, handling and disposal of waste and imposes an obligation to everyone generating waste to minimize waste through treatment, reclamation and recycling. She noted that NEMA also developed the National Solid Waste Management Strategy to guide on waste management and to ensure a healthy, safe and secure environment for all citizens.

Ministry of Environment and Forestry PS Dr. Chris Kiptoo said that solid waste is a menace which affects most cities and major towns in the country, and this has lead to setting up of dump sites which are a health risk to people. He said that the Ministry is pursuing a paradigm shift from a linear to circular economy in an endeavor to sustainably manage waste and hence clean, safe and healthy environment in Kenya.

He urged Resident Associations and the private sector organizations to take up the circular economy concept to help deal with solid waste management problem in the country. The PS said that the ministry has undertaken various initiatives to sustainably guide management of waste in the country. This include; ban on single use plastics;  development of the National Sustainable Waste Management Policy and Bill which has adopted a circular economy approach; development of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) regulations to hold producers liable for irresponsible disposal of waste; and development of waste curriculum guidelines. The PS concluded his remarks by stating that the Ministry will work with KARA to create awareness to residents and the general public on the circular economy approaches to waste management in Kenya.