Kenya's circular economy is gaining momentum as the Ministry of Climate Change and Forestry seeks partnerships with waste recycling companies to invest in the country.
During this year's Loop Forum in Copenhagen, Cabinet Secretary Soipan Tuya extended an invitation to Danish waste recycling companies to bring their circular economy solutions to Nairobi, assuring them of the government's full support.
In her keynote speech, Tuya said circular economy is a priority for Kenya, not just because of its role in combating climate change by eliminating greenhouse gas emissions through waste management, but also because it has immense potential for income generation in communities.
She went on to describe the importance of this sector, as Kenya generates eight million tonnes of waste annually, which currently ends up in overstretched landfills and streets, choking up the environment.
Tuya expressed her desire for a "robust partnership that will help us realize zero waste as we make circular economy a reality for Kenya.
The Cabinet Secretary also highlighted Kenya's bold policy decisions, including the 2017 ban on the use, manufacture, and importation of plastic carrier bags used for commercial and household packaging.
This decision gained international attention and inspired a similar move by many other countries towards reducing plastic waste.
"We are happy that the world is now progressing towards the conclusion of a plastics treaty, thanks to what I might say, in the most part, was informed by the bold move on the part of Kenya," Tuya said.
Kenya has established a robust regulatory framework that mainstreams global best practices in waste management, including a requirement for producers to invest in reusable and recyclable technologies and products.
The new law has brought an end to waste dumpsites in Kenya, transitioning them into sanitary landfills, and introduced composting and material recovery facilities.
Waste generators are also required to segregate waste at the source into different fractions and ensure appropriate transportation to designated composting and material recovery facilities.
Tuya, outlined her Ministry's key priorities, including the restoration of degraded ecosystems by growing 15 billion trees by 2032, acceleration of climate change adaptation and mitigation interventions, and circular economy.
She also mentioned the upcoming African Climate Summit that Kenya is co-hosting with the African Union in Nairobi from September 4th to 6th, 2023. According to CS Tuya, the summit aims to consolidate the continent's position ahead of COP 28 in the UAE.
She said: "President William Ruto, who is also the Chair of the Committee of African Heads of State and Government Committee on Climate Change (CAHOSSC) would like out of the Summit, a Nairobi declaration that would state and contain the African Agenda towards COP 28."
Additionally, Denmark's Ambassador to Kenya Amb Ole Thonke, in his introductory remarks, praised Kenya's new regulatory framework towards achieving a fully functional circular economy and called for Danish waste recycling companies to support Kenya's ambitions.
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Tuya concluded her address by stating that circular economy, alongside the restoration of degraded ecosystems and acceleration of climate change adaptation and mitigation interventions, remains a top priority for her ministry. With the support of Danish and Dutch Governments.