Last week, Kenya 2030 Water Resources Group (WRG), under the umbrella of the Kenya Industrial Water Alliance (KIWA), supported the Ministry of Water, Sanitation, and Irrigation, together with the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) to convene a National Consultative Forum on Industrial Effluent Management in Kenya. The purpose of the meeting, which brought together 180 representatives from industry, government, and regulatory agencies, aimed to collectively define a shared vision for the management of industrial effluent in Kenya, and to identify a roadmap to achieve compliance with existing environmental regulations without compromising the manufacturing sector.
The discharge of untreated industrial effluent into surface water bodies is causing a serious threat to water resources and the country’s economic development, particularly in the context of the President’s Big Four Agenda, which foresees a 65 percent increase in manufacturing’s contribution to GDP by 2022.
Although the regulatory framework for water, laid out in the Water Act 2016 and Environmental Management Coordination Act (EMCA 1999), includes strict guidance on the discharge of industrial effluent, non-compliance with existing regulation in combination with sewerage and water treatment infrastructure that is not designed to treat industrial discharge – which often includes chemical contaminants – has resulted in untreated industrial effluent being released back into the environment.
The forum, which was held on the heels of a nationwide expose on the pollution that plagues one of the nations key waterways and ahead of the upcoming Kenya Sanitation Conference 2019, provided an opportunity for the Ministry to set the policy agenda around collective action to address the challenges around Kenya’s persistent industrial waste water management problem.
Hon. Simon Chelugui, Cabinet Secretary for the Ministry of Water, Sanitation, and Irrigation and the Co-chair of the 2030 WRG multi-stakeholder partnership in Kenya, stressed the need for continuous engagement to find common solutions. He expressed support for applying targeted economic incentives to curb pollution and encourage circular economy approaches within the industrial sector, in addition to continued strict enforcement of existing regulations, which has seen regulators shut down dozens of factories since the beginning of the year for illegally discharging waste into the environment.
Moving ahead, the Ministry will develop a set of recommendations based on the outcomes of the forum. These will be presented to stakeholders at a subsequent meeting ahead of the Kenya Sanitation Conference in October.
Watch Hon.CS Chelugui on K24
The Kenya Industrial Water Alliance is a multi-stakeholder platform jointly-established by 2030 WRG and GIZ IWASP in 2016. The platform brings together participants from the public and private sectors as well as civil society and academia with the aim of finding collaborative solutions to the challenges of Industrial water management. It is chaired by the Kenya Association of Manufacturers and co-chaired by the Water Resources Authority.