Trans Nzoia seeks new law to promote climate change curbs

Waste flowing into a river. [Courtesy]

Trans Nzoia County is taking steps towards combating the challenges posed by climate change with the introduction of a comprehensive Climate Change Bill.

If this bill passes through the assembly, stakeholders say, it promises to empower residents by providing crucial climate change information and fostering informed decision-making on adaptation, mitigation, and resilience.

During a recent scoping session to discuss the elements to be included in the Bill, stakeholders passionately voiced their support for measures that ensure the timely dissemination of climate information to the public.

This included representatives from 10 county departments, community-based organisations, faith-based organisations (CBOs) and key government agencies like the National Environment Management Authority (Nema), the Kenya Meteorological Department (KMD), and the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS).

One notable aspect of the proposed Bill is the focus on mainstreaming vulnerable communities into a dedicated climate change unit to be established at the county level.

This strategic move aims to ensure that those most affected by climate change are not left behind in the region's initiatives.

The Bill is also set to introduce the "polluter pays" principle, a concept designed to deter activities leading to pollution, such as the emission of greenhouse gases by industries and other sources.

This principle involves imposing higher levies on those who engage in actions that contribute to air and noise pollution, sending a strong message about the importance of environmental responsibility.

Technological transfers

The Bill also emphasises the importance of institutional frameworks and technological transfers to facilitate the sharing of vital climate information.

This focus on collaboration and innovation is a key element in Trans Nzoia County's strategy to combat climate change effectively, according to officials.

The Trans Nzoia County Director of Environment Godfrey Wekesa emphasised the significance of this endeavour. He said the county has already made significant progress, with the draft Bill currently in advanced stages.

"We have done the scoping and are now in the advanced stages of having the draft Bill in place," said Wekesa who led the team of stakeholders from Trans Nzoia County in the scoping exercise.

Climate-smart agriculture

Wekesa said the team was committed to ensuring public participation in the process, ensuring that the bill reflects the needs and aspirations of the community.

GIZ Kenya, a partner in this endeavour, has been actively involved in supporting multiple counties, including Bungoma and Trans Nzoia, within the Lake Region Economic Block (LREB) in formulating their County Climate Change Bills.

This collaborative effort, with ongoing support, demonstrates the collective determination to tackle the pressing issue of climate change at a regional level.

Trans Nzoia Governor George Natembeya says he has prioritised addressing climate change and he has was not only committed to planting over five million trees in five years but also championing climate-smart agriculture.

"We will continue to put in place all measures that will help in addressing the climate change monster that is a global menace and we hope to contribute much to the fight by promoting mitigation, adaptation and resilience measures," said Natembeya.

The county has taken some strides in adopting green energy solutions such as the installation of solar-powered water pumps.

According to county officials, as of July 1, Trans Nzoia had planted approximately 750,000 trees, nearing its annual target of one million trees.

Trans Nzoia County's Climate Change Bill, if successfully enacted, could mark a significant milestone in the region's fight against climate change.