Solid Waste Management 11 Counties - Kenya Alliance of Resident Associations (KARA)

Kenya generates 4 million tons of solid waste each year. This is expected to double by 2030. Low solid waste collection rates (currently less than 55% collection in Nairobi and other cities), illegal dumping and uncontrolled dumpsites beset the Country.   This is compounded by increased economic activity, the growth, and expansion of cities and our population.  The country’s waste management challenges have reached major proportions.

The current poor state of waste management is a public health and environmental threat, a loss of valuable resources for job and wealth creation, and an eyesore that negatively affects the well-being of all Kenyans. There is an urgent need to create the necessary regulatory environment that will enable Kenya to effectively tackle the waste challenge.

The Government has taken several positive steps at the National level. This includes, the development of a National Solid Waste Management (SWM) Strategy, 2015 (by the National Environmental Management Authority – NEMA) to act as a guide to sustainable SWM in Kenya ensuring a safe and secure environment for all.

More recently the National Government, through the Ministry of Environment and Forestry (MoE&F) has developed two critical documents, that is, National Sustainable Waste Management Policy 2018 (NSWM Policy 2018) and the National Sustainable Waste Management Bill 2018 (NSWM Bill 2018).

The Kenya Alliance of Resident Associations (KARA), working in conjunction with the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) engaged with the National Government and the MoE&F in a stakeholder process on the NSWM Policy and Bills 2018. A critical agenda for the project is to ensure harmony between the National Government and the Counties on the issue of SWM.

At the County level guided by the Fourth Schedule, Part 2 (g) of the Constitution, that states that county governments are responsible for “county health services particularly - refuse removal, refuse dumps and solid waste disposal, several counties have commenced an effort to have in place policies and laws that work to support the National governments agenda on Sustainable Solid Waste Management. The NEMA SWM Strategy notes that SWM is a major challenge for all 47 counties and it is critical that they put in place legal instruments to assist them in the management of solid waste. According to the SWM Strategy, in five major towns (Nairobi, Nakuru, Mombasa, Kisumu, Thika, and Eldoret), an estimated 6000 tonnes of waste is generated per day, and an average of 54% of waste is collected.  KARA with regards to counties emphasises that an appropriate regulatory framework in counties is the first step towards improving SWM by counties.


In 2017, KARA working in conjunction with KAM developed model County Solid Waste Management (SWM) Policies and Bills that have provided the first step to ensuring an appropriate regulatory framework for Solid Waste Management in 11 counties. The project has succeeded in developing with each of the 11 Counties, fully customized Solid Waste Management Policies and Bills. KARA would like to work with the Counties to take the project to the next step and ensure that the developed instruments in the 11 counties are successfully passed through a stakeholder review process, and at each county ensure revised draft Policies and Bills are ready to be introduced to each County Assembly.

Read the following documents for more insight

Urban Africa.Net – Solid Waste Management in Kenya: Coherence, Gaps, and Overlaps - 2016

Leah Oyake-Ombis – Lecturer UoN and Director of the Africa Livelihood Innovations for Sustainable Environment Consulting Group – Article in Quartz Africa on 25th March 2018

Discussional Draft 2018: National Sustainable Solid Waste Policy.

Solid Waste Management Strategy, 2015

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