National Environment Management Authority (Nema) is holding producers accountable for the pollution caused by their products and packaging.
The agency has proposed substantial fines of up to Sh5 million for those who fail to meet their obligations under the Sustainable Waste Management Act 2022.
Dr. Ayub Macharia, Nema’s director of compliance, emphasized that producers can no longer escape responsibility, and the introduction of the concept of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) places the onus on them to ensure their products do not harm the environment.
This groundbreaking law, enacted on July 6, 2022, not only aims to enhance environmental sustainability but also strives to improve the overall health of Kenyan citizens by reducing pollution of air, land, freshwater, and marine ecosystems.
The EPR concept defined in the Act extends the producer’s responsibility to the post-consumer stage of a product’s life cycle, with Section 13(1) of the Act mandating every producer to bear extended producer obligations.
These obligations require producers to take measures to reduce pollution and the environmental impact of their products and the waste generated from them.
Failure to comply with these regulations could lead to fines, and producers must ensure that their products and associated waste are managed appropriately.
This marks a significant shift in environmental responsibility, where the burden of environmental protection now falls squarely on producers, rather than only on members of the public.
The Act also enables authorities to prosecute those who violate these regulations, ensuring a cleaner and healthier environment for all.