Waste management is key to industrialization, CS Tuya says

Environment & Forestry CS Nominee Soipan Tuya during her vetting session by the Committee on Appointments on October 19, 2022. [Elvis Ogina, Standard]

Innovation and waste management are key in accelerating the transition to a circular economy, Environment, Climate Change and Forestry CS Soipan Tuya has said.

According to Tuya Kenya had developed a circular Economy Strategy which is set to operationalize the waste management council.

''Our plan focuses on people, the planet, and profits. The idea is to ensure that the good of today becomes the resources of tomorrow,'' Tuya said.

The CS noted that Kenya shall soon pass the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) Regulations and revise the waste Regulations 2006 to include all kinds of waste.

Tuya spoke during a special session addressing issues of sustainable solution.

The meeting in Nairobi brought together representatives of Government and Private Sector Organizations from Kenya, Netherland, Denmark and the conference of Danish Industry.

It was held under the theme, 'Accelerating the Circular Transition- Waste to resources and cleaner production.'

The meeting heard that the world faces unprecedented challenges which are brought about by human approach to production and consumption.

And that industries have in the recent past negatively affected the environment as well as the overall health of both humans and animals.

Principal Secretary, State Department for Industry, in the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Dr Juma Mukhwana said the forum is an opportunity to deliberate on how to manage waste in the country.

In a message read on his behalf by Director of Industries Julius Kirima, the PS said: ''The theme resonates well with the tenets of sustainable development in which we must leap the benefits of industrialization without burying ourselves in waste and risk becoming an affluent society.''

Dr Mukhwana further said that it is time for the country to identify and adopt appropriate waste management models, which can be easily adopted and used effectively.

''We must inculcate a culture of waste management into the entire fabric of society, including the school system, so that waste management becomes everyone's concern and responsibility,'' Mukhwana stated.

He however observed that it is time for the stakeholders to review and put in place appropriate policies and legislation that encourage waste management that will include recycling of waste to other uses.

''Manufacturing industry should be at the forefront in the waste management campaign as often the waste would be inputs, which should ideally translate into more products and hence profit,'' Mukhwana said.

Currently, industrial chemicals find their way into rivers and farmlands poisoning human nature.

Dr Mukhwana noted that there is an urgent need to recognize and respect the delicate balance and the interdependence between development and environment.

''There are indications that we could be poisoning ourselves by not practicing sound chemical management in the handling and disposal of chemical wastes, culminating in dangerous chemicals being dumped or disposed into farmland where they find way into crops and eventually into the food chain,'' he said

Danish Ambassador to Kenya, Ole Thonke said this will enable Kenya access to the international market for its products.

''By adopting a circular economy, we shall create markets for Kenya, Netherlands and Denmark which will, in turn, benefit our people in the three countries,'' Thonke said.