Nema, tackle pollution with more seriousness

Garbage dumped along the road. [Getty Images]

There is something fundamentally wrong with Kenyan society when it comes to matters of the environment.

Everywhere one looks, from government honchos to the common mwananchi, everyone is talking about the need to conserve the environment but very few are actually doing something to keep the environment clean. Talk of cleaning Nairobi River has been the buzz word for many administrations but nothing much has come out of the many committees and initiatives. Walking in any town or city mounds of garbage are an eyesore.

Whereas the governments are to blame in many instances, regulatory bodies and the mwananchi who dumps garbage from his or her homestead or place of work carries as much blame. It is regretful that companies that have elaborate corporate social responsibility programmes and budgets are dirtying the air we breathe and the water we drink.

Industrial pollution in the country is of epic proportions. The few times the residents protest, the National Environmental Management Authority (Nema) has slapped them on the wrist and the damage goes on unabated.

For instance, why should residents of Kilgoris suffer respiratory infections because a company has challenges dealing with its waste? The explanations given by the regulator fly in the face of environmental conservation.

If a company is overwhelmed, why not shut it down until it gets its act right? For how long are Kenyans going to endure health problems because a company cannot clean its waste? And it is not just in Kilgoris, countrywide examples are many of factories polluting the environment and getting away with it.

We therefore ask the regulator to get serious with its core mandate of conserving the environment. Kenyans should not be suffering from ailments that can be avoided out of negligence. The populace is also sick and tired of government officials purporting to be overseeing regulation when they are not.

We ask Nema to get its act right.