KENYA – The National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) has issued a public notice urging immediate action to clear post-consumer waste from the environment in preparation for El Nino.

In a statement, NEMA instructed all producers specifically those in the packaging, textile, and baby diaper industries to ensure that post-consumer waste does not clog drainage systems.

NEMA further directed the producers to ensure their waste does not obstruct the flow of rivers or cause pollution to the ecosystems.

“The purpose of this notice is to require all producers and associated producer responsibility organizations to remove all post-consumer waste from the environment as a matter of urgency,” read part of the statement.

The authority warned all those who do not comply will face legal action. NEMA emphasized that failure to honor the directive will put the lives of Kenyans in danger.

According to the Sustainable Waste Management Act 2022, all producers are required to bear mandatory Extended Producer Responsibility obligations to reduce pollution and environmental impacts of the products they introduce to the Kenyan market and arising waste.

Meanwhile, the new directive is geared at ensuring all producers take responsibility for their products, even after they have been released into the market, especially in urban areas that have struggled with drainage issues in the past.

The clogged drainage often results in loss of life and property and further degradation of water bodies such as rivers, lakes, swamps, and oceans.

The Meteorological Department has projected the onset of El Nino rains from October through to December, warning of potential flooding and landslides in parts of the country.

To that end, various government institutions have taken action to protect both life and property.

The Kenya National Highways Authority (KENHA) has already embarked on the expansion and unclogging of drainages along Mombasa Road which often floods when it rains.

Similarly, the Nairobi County Government has issued a directive ordering tenants living in buildings deemed to be unsafe to vacate ahead of the El Nino rains.

Governor Johnson Sakaja has also hired 3,500 young workers to unclog drainages across the city to avoid flooding.

“All illegal structures put up along drainages are going to be demolished. We can’t risk the lives of thousands of Nairobians at the expense of protecting the business of one person” added the governor.

The Kenya Red Cross has also initiated coordination measures to facilitate effective preparedness in anticipation of the upcoming rains.

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