OPINIONPeople Daily

Why sustainable waste management is crucial

The African Industrialisation Day, being celebrated this week, under the theme Promoting Regional Value Chains in Africa provides us with an opportunity to contemplate and brainstorm how to pursue Kenya’s industrialisation Agenda in a sustainable way.

Industrialisation is key to our economic sustainability. As a matter of fact, the Industry 4.0’s progress is an indicator of the growing need for industrialisation in our development focus in the future.

However, the global discussions on the increasing scarcity in environmental resources are weighty and consequently the tenor on remedies to counter these effects in production processes needs to be raised.

Hence, while industrialisation plays a critical role in job creation, poverty eradication and economic growth, the same needs to be replicated in its role in promoting a cleaner and safer environment.

It is on this note that industry is making strides to ensure environmental protection in its practices in line with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 3 on Good Health, 11 on Sustainable Cities and Communities, as well as 12 on Responsible Consumption.

Innovation and process optimisation have continued to pave the way to new and better solutions for a cleaner production, efficient resource management and waste management.

Chemicals are integral in our lives from use in agricultural chemicals, manufacture of medicines, home maintenance, personal use, among others.

Some of the challenges that Kenya has experienced in chemical management include the lack of specific policy for chemicals management, low awareness and information flow, an inadequate system for information exchange on chemicals hazard, low inventory on chemicals and risk along the supply chain of chemicals management, according to a 2016 Baseline Study on Chemicals Management in Kenya.

Awareness forums

Through the Global Environment Facility programme and with Kenya Association of Manufacturers as an implementing partner, the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, has made strides to develop sound policies on chemical management and reduction of unintentionally produced organic pollutants,

To further promote sustainable chemical practices, it is critical that we enhance the safety of employees, consumers, and the environment.

Currently, there exists regulations such as Occupational Safety And Health Act, 2007,  that promote the health and safety at the workplace. But going a step further we need to initiate public awareness forums on chemical waste management initiatives.

The development of a sound National Chemical Policy and the implementation of a chemicals management roadmap, will drive sustainable chemical practices. The Draft Toxic and Hazardous Industrial Chemicals and Materials Regulations, 2018 is a step in the right direction.

On the other hand, self-regulation also plays a huge role in chemical waste management. To pursue self-regulation, KAM partnered with International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA) to promote Responsible Care ® in Kenya.

We are proud to be the first African country to undertake the Responsible Care initiative in the East African Region.

The global initiative started in Canada in 1985 is currently practiced in 68 countries. Between 1988 to 2016, responsible care companies reduced hazardous releases to the Air, land and water by 84 per cent.

This is also achievable in Kenya. Such industrial-driven initiatives will play a huge role in realising the Big Four Agenda whilst promoting industrial growth. – The writer is the CEO of Kenya Association of Manufacturers and the UN Global Compact Network Representative for Kenya. —[email protected]

Show More

Related Articles