Wednesday, September 5, 2007

LGI News: Nairobi City Council a top polluter, says Nema

Nairobi City Council (NCC) has been declared a top polluter for its failure to comply with solid waste transportation, disposal, and management regulation that were introduced four months ago.

National Environment Monitoring Authority (Nema) says City Hall may now face legal action for gross neglect of dumping sites and use of unroadworthy vehicles in transporting solid waste.

Apart from using old and dilapidated trucks to transport waste, Nema said City Hall had failed to fence dump sites or establish a mechanism to manage fires in dumpsites.

Mr Benjamin Langwen, the director of compliance and enforcement at Nema said none of NCC’s vehicles meets the waste disposal requirements stipulated in the new regulations.

“We have indicated to the council that if they do not comply and without any future reference, Nema will take them to court,” said Mr Langwen.

Failure to comply with waste disposal standards carries a penalty of Sh500,000 or a prison term of 18 months.

Ms Leah Oyake, the director of environment at NCC, however said she had not received any complaints from Nema regarding the councils non-compliance with solid waste disposal regulations.

“I am not aware of any new rules and regulations on solid waste disposal that have been fronted by Nema nor am I aware of any failure by City Hall to comply,” said Ms Oyake.

The new regulations demand that vehicle transporting waste be in good working condition, be clearly labelled as carrying garbage and have the waste fully covered while in transit.

Drivers of the vehicles are also required to have a manifest indicating the source of the waste, the type of waste and the intended disposal site for environmental audit purposes and accountability.

Nema, which is set to issue the first batch of compliance certificates to 300 companies, described the level of compliance among local authorities as above average.

Seventeen vehicles in Nairobi and 100 country wide are also set to receive waste disposal compliance certificates.

Mr Lagwen said Nema had embarked on an aggressive campaign to inform business owners on the specific requirements to raise the level of compliance. “A number of companies do not know that the regulations exist nor what they are required to comply with,” he said.

In April, Nema introduced a new set of regulations on effluent and solid waste management and disposal to curb air, soil and water pollution, especially in Nairobi.

According to Nema, other councils have registered a higher compliance rates compared to Nairobi which has more resources and can easily implement the regulations.

The authority is now threatening to invite private investors in to the multi million garbage disposal business to introduce competition and increase levels of compliance.

No comments: