Handling e-waste in Kenya

By Marvice Wanja

NEMA staff during an inspection exercise

The discovery of electronic gadgets such as mobile phones, laptops, and televisions has brought a breakthrough globally but with it came a disadvantage, e-waste. E-waste is discarded electronic devices or appliances which are no longer useful. According to World Economic Forum research, E-waste is now the world’s fastest-growing trash stream, with an estimated waste stream of 48.5 million metric tons in 2018. Comparing that to previous trends, it appears that by 2023, there may be an estimated 61 million metric tons generated. In Kenya, electronic waste is the fastest-growing waste component, with an estimated 51,300 tons of electronic waste being generated annually. E-waste is emerging as one of the most critical environmental challenges globally, regionally, and nationally.
This has led to the creation of The African Health and Pollution Management project which is a five-year
Global Environment Facility’s sixth framework-funded project in five African countries namely; Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Ghana, and Senegal with World Bank as the implementing agency. In Kenya, the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) is the executing agency where the project’s main objective is to strengthen institutional capacity to manage and regulate e-waste and related UPOPS in Kenya. E-waste has become an issue that has to be dealt with thoroughly as it is posing an environmental challenge. Many people are ignorant and unaware of the threat posed by e-waste which has caused an accumulation of e-waste to reach an unsustainable level and owing to management challenges, they are becoming a major source of environmental pollution. E-waste is often mixed with other municipal waste and disposed of at open dumpsites where it is treated through open burning. Such open burning for e-waste disposed of is a significant source of polybrominated Diphenyl
Ethers (PBDEs), polychlorinated Biphenyls (PCBs), Hexabromocyclododecane (HBCD), dioxins, furans, cadmium, beryllium and Lead release to the environment which can cause severe human health
and environmental hazards.

Save our Ocean, Protect our Future

CS Environment & Forestry Keriako Tobiko (L ) with NEMA DG Mamo B. Mamo, EBS at the Oceans Conference in Lisbon, Portugal

NEMA Director-General, Mamo B Mamo represented Environment PS Dr. Chris Kiptoo at a side event during the UN Ocean Conference in Lisbon, Portugal. The event themed “Depolluting Oceans through Controlling Trade in Plastic wastes and combating illegal traffic under the Basel Convention was aimed at having discourse on how countries are implementing the Basel Convention guidelines on trade and trans- boundary procedures in their policies and strategies. The DG mentioned that like other countries, Kenya experiences heavy traffic regarding vessels and goods being transported, some of which are made of plastics or packaged using plastic. He said the huge manufacturing and import of plastics means that oceans are very prone to pollution due to dumping on
the high seas.
In order to combat the illegal trade in plastic wastes, the DG mentioned that the Government is enhancing coordinated implementation and enforcement of the multi- environmental agreements that are relevant
to monitoring and controlling of transboundary
movements of hazardous chemical wastes including
their sound management.
“We welcome the decisions adopted during COP15 of Basel that seek to ensure that trans-border shipments of all types of waste, whether hazardous or not, will be subject to prior notification and consent rules”, concluded Mr. Mamo.

NEMA Bags Continental Environmental Awards

NEMA Director-General, Mamo B. Mamo, EBS (2nd R) receive a trophy from H.E the Vice President of the Republic of Ghana Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia (R) during the ceremony in Accra Ghana. They are flanked by other participants


The NEMA Director-General, Mamo B. Mamo, EBS was awarded the prestigious Africa Public Sector CEO of the Year Award in Accra, Ghana at the 3rd Africa Public Sector Conference held on 13th May 2022. The ceremony was graced by H.E the Vice President of the Republic of Ghana Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia. The award was to reward and promote Excellence in Public Sector in Africa. Mamo also received an award for the Africa top 50 Public Sector leader. NEMA Kenya received the prestigious award of Africa Environmental Regulator of the year 2022. High Commissioner of Kenya to the Republic of Ghana H.E Amb. Eliphas Barine was in attendance among other dignitaries. While appearing on the National Television Station in Ghana, GTV Breakfast Show, Mr. Mamo revealed that the citizens and government officials had addressed issues about the ban on plastic bags decades before it was implemented. He added that the discussion on the ban on plastic took a decade for all stakeholders to participate in the process especially the manufacturers of the plastics as well as political leaders. The Authority had to educate the public on the dangers of using plastics. “My hearty congratulations to you, Mamo B Mamo, EBS for being awarded the Environmental Regulator of the year 2022. This is indeed a great inspiration to the public Sector in Kenya, “ CS Environment and Forestry, Keriako Tobiko stated. NEMA Director-General, Mamo B. Mamo, EBS (2nd R) receive a trophy from H.E the Vice President of the Republic of Ghana Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia (R) during the ceremony in Accra Ghana. They are flanked by other participants.


By Evans Nyabuto
NEMA DG Mamo B Mamo, EBS in a panel session at
Kempinski hotel, Accra, Ghana during the ceremony

Waste to Energy Project in Kakamega

By John Maniafu, CDE Kakamega, James Ambani, and Warren Girisi Waswa

Kakamega County has emerged as the first in the Country to launch an energy power plant as a way of managing the waste generated. The County is moving toward this energy power plant to recover its waste and develop more energy sources. The project was launched by His Excellency Hon. Dr. FCPA Wycliffe Ambetse Oparanya, Governor Kakamega County on 1st March 2022.
The project will be set at Mung’ang’a grounds in
Mumias East Sub County. It is to be established in partnership with the private sector and will be entitled VRH Kakamega Limited Waste to Energy Plant. The investor is VR Holding AB from Finland. The lease agreement will be a period of 30 years and will be renewed based on the performance and relevance of the technology used. The primary objective of the project is to manage waste in the County. This is to be done in an environmentally friendly manner. Energy will be produced by using solid waste as a resource by operating an affordable system and sustainable technology that is easy to maintain. All these are in line with the applicable laws and regulations and global standards. The estimated cost is 9 billion shillings from start to completion. The county has given out 15 acres of land for setting up the project. The land is at Mung’ang’a in Mumias East Sub County.
The waste will be collected from Commercial
establishments in Municipalities, urban and rural
centers; Institutions including schools, polytechnics,
hospitals, colleges/Universities, and prisons; Bagasse
from jaggeries and sugar industries and from
Homesteads – residential estates and rural homes. Waste from the Lake region Counties is expected to be moved to the plant for energy conversion. Waste to Energy Conversion model The model has a capacity of converting 400 tons of waste into energy per day. In the first phase, the project
will generate 10MW of Energy for start which will
increase gradually as the company engages neighboring
Counties to supply more waste. The combustible
materials in waste will be burned when they reach the
necessary ignition temperature and come into contact
with oxygen, undergoing an oxidation reaction. The
reaction temperature is between 850 and 1450ºC, and
the combustion process occurs in the gas and
solid phase, simultaneously releasing heat energy. A
minimum calorific value of the waste is required to
enable a thermal chain reaction and self-supporting
combustion (auto thermic combustion). Therefore
there is no need for the addition of other fuels. During
incineration, exhaust gases are created which, after
cleaning, exit into the atmosphere via a pipe or channel
called a flue. These fuel gases contain the majority
of the available fuel energy as heat. Excess heat from
combustion can be used to make steam for electricity
Anaerobic digestion (AD) is the decomposition of organic matter through microorganisms in
the absence of free oxygen. AD occurs naturally
under oxygen-deprived conditions such as some
lake sediments and can be used under controlled
conditions to produce biogas. For that purpose a gas-
tight reactor, a so-called anaerobic digester, is used to
provide favorable conditions for microorganisms to
turn organic matter, the input feedstock, into biogas
and a solid-liquid residue called a digester. Biogas is a
mixture of different gases which can be converted into
thermal and/or electrical energy. The flammable gas
methane (CH4) is the main energy carrier in biogas
and its content ranges between 50 – 75% depending on feedstock and operational conditions.
Benefits of the Project

The project will be beneficial to the locals, the County
, and the environment at large. There will be a transition
to a low carbon economy as it scales up to renewable
Energy. Furthermore Climate Change mitigation through cutting down on greenhouse gas emissions. The electricity of over 32MW will be generated and will generally contribute towards cheaper sources of Energy. Waterborne and respiratory infections arising from solid waste will be minimized. It will also contribute toward livelihoods long the solid waste management value chain and considerably improve our solid waste management practices. Generation of employment opportunities in solid waste collection, transportation, and processing and opportunities for cheaper energy. At first, 200 people will be employed and the number will rise as the project continues to run.

Governments, Intergovernmental Organizations, Industry and Civil Society Join Forces for a Chemical-Safe World by 2020

Achieving sound management of chemicals could prevent over 1 million deaths per year globally and massively contribute to realizing the Sustainable Development Goals.

Geneva, 2 October 2015–Over 800 delegates, including ministers, CEOs, heads of intergovernmentalorganizations and leaders of civil society, meeting at the 4th International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM4), committed today to step up action to safeguard people and the environment from the risk posed by inadequately managed chemicals.

Of the estimated 100,000+ chemicals on the market today, only a fraction has been thoroughly evaluated to determine their effects on human health and the environment. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that exposure to chemicals contributes to over 1 million deaths annually.

The infant death rate from environmental causes overall is 12 times higher in developing than in developed countries while childhood lead exposure is estimated to contribute to about 600,000 new cases of children with intellectual disabilities every year.

ICCM4 concluded with a commitment to invest in efforts to prevent these deaths and illnesses by assuring sound chemicals management throughout their lifecycleby 2020.

Achieving that goal would be a milestone toward realizing the historic 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda adopted by 193 countries last week, and containing goals on human health and well-being, food security, sustainable consumption and production, and water and sanitation – all issues directly affected by chemicals.

Addressing delegates at the conference, Mr. Achim Steiner, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), stressed the challenges and opportunities of sound chemicals management, and the growing need for innovative partnerships and better information and knowledge.

Mr. Steiner said: “Chemicals are a part of our lives that we cannot do without. That’s precisely whywe need to fundamentally rethink how chemicals are developed and managed for industrial and commercial applications. Seeking out ad hoc alternatives to toxic chemicals is a Sisyphean effort. To tackle the challenge of green or sustainable chemistry at its root, we will need a shift in mindset and education so that the chemistry of tomorrow is sustainable from the start.”

Dr. Richard Lesiyampe, Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, Kenya, and President of ICCM4 said:“Projections show an increase in chemical production and use worldwide, with developing countries expected to produce and use by 2020 around 31 per cent and 33 per cent of global chemicals respectively.

“In building a chemical-safe future, we will address some of the most pressing issues that emerge as part of the sustainable development challenge including the need for increased capacity to address, prevent and manage aftermaths of chemical incidences. Strong capacity for governance, knowledge and information-sharing, and risk reduction will also be needed,”

Representatives of the global chemical business at the conference included the International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA), which has led the“Responsible Care Global Charter”, promoting responsible management of chemicals throughout their lifecycle. UNEP and ICCA agreed to strengthen their partnership for a chemical-safe future.

Mr. Cal Dooley, President and CEO of the American Chemistry Council and ICCA Council Secretarysaid: “ICCA is committed to advancing SAICM implementation and promoting the sustainable and effective management of chemicals globally. Through our strengthened partnership, ICCA and UNEP will continue to work together to develop guidance for countries around the world so they can enhance and improve their chemical management systems.”

Well-represented at the conference, civil society has an indispensable role to play in achieving a chemical-safe world by gathering and sharing information, building capacity and empowering those who work with, or are affected by, chemicals everyday.

Dr. OlgaSperanskaya, International POPs Elimination Network (IPEN) Co-Chair said: “Goodwill alone will not minimize adverse effects on the people most impacted by chemical exposure – women, children, workers, impoverished communities. Increased financial resources and a sense of urgency are needed if we are going to make progress – curb cancer and other diseases linked to unsound chemical management practices. We call on everyone involved – governments, international agencies, industry, and civil society – to make chemical safety a priority.”

The conference concentrated on five priority policy issues requiring urgent action to protecthuman health and lives – lead in paint, endocrine-disrupting chemicals, chemicals in products, nanotechnology, and hazardous substances in the lifecycle of electronics and electrical products – and went further, by addingenvironmentally persistent pharmaceutical pollutants this week.

In addition, discussions on highly hazardous pesticides (HHPs) which pose particular risks to children and have caused health problems and fatalities in many parts of the worldled toa decision topromote ecological alternatives and strengthennational legislation regarding the use of HHPs.

ICCM4 closed by adopting a global plan of action for sound management of chemicals by 2020, which proposes concrete interventions, promotes implementation of existing legal instruments and addresses emerging policy issues.


About ICCM

ICCM is the governing body of the Strategic Approach to International Chemicals Management (SAICM). SAICM – to which UNEP provides the Secretariat – is a policy framework to promote chemical safety around the world. It is unique for bringing together multiple sectors and stakeholders to address chemicals and waste issues that are not already within the scope of legally binding agreements.

SAICM has as its overall objective the achievement of the sound management of chemicals throughout their life cycle so that, by 2020, chemicals are produced and used in ways that minimize significant adverse impacts on human health and the environment. This “2020 goal” was adopted by the World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002 as part of the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation.Objectives are grouped under five themes: risk reduction; knowledge and information; governance; capacity-building and technical cooperation; and illegal international traffic.

For more information, visit www.saicm.org

For more information, please contact:

Isabelle Valentiny, Head of Communications, Regional Office for Europe, UNEP Geneva, +41 22 917 8404 or isabelle.valentiny@unep.org;

Lisa-maria.Hadeed@unep.org +41 79 372 1346

BRS and Climate-KIC launch first-ever Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on e-waste

The Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam, and Stockholm Conventions (BRS), together with its partner the European Institute for Innovation and Technology’s Climate Knowledge and Innovation Community (Climate-KIC), is proud to launch the first-ever Massive Open Online Course, or MOOC, on the electronic and electrical waste, e-waste challenge.

It is estimated that, by 2018, there will be 50 million metric tonnes of e-waste produced per year, far-outstripping current capacities to properly manage it in an environmentally and socially appropriate manner.

According to Achim Steiner, Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme, in his introductory video address to the MOOC, “In many countries women and children form up to 30% of the workforce in crude, e-waste processing and are therefore particularly vulnerable. When women and girls are affected in this way as the mothers of today and tomorrow, our common future is affected too. This MOOC will introduce you to the challenge of e-waste and especially to its environmentally sound recycling. The course will take you from the problem, to opportunities, and to possible actions at local, regional and national levels, and will guide you through policy tools and best practices for the collection, recycling, and final disposal of e-waste.”

Ebrahim Mohamed, Climate-KIC’s education director, added: “Our MOOC highlights that e-waste is a societal challenge that also is part of larger opportunity to create a prosperous zero carbon future, driven by innovation, jobs, and investment. Climate-KIC is seizing that opportunity by connecting both public and private sectors with climate change-focused education, research and innovation. Ideas are the oxygen of growth in the zero carbon economy, and I am convinced that this collaboration with UNEP will spark many new ones.”

Fast-growing waste stream

E-waste is a fast-growing waste stream in the world and poses a number of serious threats to human health and the environment. Conversely, if undertaken in an environmentally sound manner, e-waste recycling can offer sustainable livelihoods, green and decent work, and contribute to the development of a circular economy.

The course opens on Monday 4th April, and is aimed at students and researchers, policy makers, practitioners, entrepreneurs, e-waste recyclers and government officials and invites participants to become part of the solution to this growing problem. Relevant for developed and developing countries alike, the 8-week programme covers all aspects of e-waste with a view to turn the threat of this global tsunami of e-waste into an opportunity.

The MOOC explores and explains the Basel Convention technical guidelines on transboundary movements of e-waste which were adopted on an interim basis at the last Conference of the Parties (COP) in May 2015, and which provide much-needed guidance on how to identify e-waste and used equipment moving between countries, with the aim of controlling illegal traffic.

E-waste is categorized as hazardous waste due to the presence of toxic materials such as mercury, lead and brominated flame retardants which include some polybrominated diphenyl ethers listed in the annexes to the Stockholm Convention, considered as hazardous waste according to the Basel Convention.

E-waste may also contain precious metals such as gold, copper and nickel and rare materials of strategic value such as indium and palladium. These precious and heavy metals could be recovered, recycled and used as valuable source of secondary raw materials. It has been documented that e-wastes are shipped to developing countries where it is often not managed in an environmentally sound manner, thus posing a serious threat to both human health and the environment.

All interested participants are invited to pre-register at the website www.learning.climate-kic.org/courses/e-waste-mooc

Notes for editors:

The Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal is the most comprehensive international environmental agreement on hazardous and other wastes and has 183 parties. See www.basel.int

The Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam, and Stockholm Conventions, or BRS, supports parties implement the three leading multilateral environment agreements governing chemicals and waste, in order to protect human health and the environment. See www.brsmeas.org

Climate-KIC (Climate Knowledge and Innovation Community) is the EU’s largest public private partnership addressing climate change through innovation to build a zero carbon economy. They run programmes for students, start-ups and innovators across Europe via centres in major cities, convening a community of the best people and organisations. Their approach starts with improving the way people live in cities. Their focus on industry creates the products required for a better living environment, and they look to optimise land use to produce the food people need. Climate-KIC is supported by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), a body of the European Union. See www.climate-kic.org

For more information, please refer to:

Website: www.brsmeas.org

BRS Secretariat – Francesca Cenni, Programme Officer, francesca.cenni@brsmeas.org tel: +41-22-9178364

BRS Press – Charlie Avis, Public Information Officer, Charles.avis@brsmeas.org tel: +41-79-7304495

About POPs

Whereas chemical inventions and use has resulted several advancement in human development, some have been reported to cause toxic reaction, persist for long period in the environment, travel many kilometers and cause long-term consequences both to humans and environment which were never intended. The most popular of these chemicals are those popularly referred to as persistent organic pollutants. Though the risk levels of these chemicals vary they share the following characteristics;

  • They are highly toxic.

  • They are persistent, lasting for years or even decades before degrading into less dangerous forms.

  • They evaporate and travel long distances through the air and through water.

  • They accumulate in fatty tissue.

Twelve persistent organic pollutants have been labeled as the dirty dozen owing to the risk they pose to human and environment. They include;

  • Nine pesticides (aldrin, chlordane, DDT, dieldrin, endrin, heptachlor, mirex, hexachlorobenzene, and toxaphene)

  • PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls)

  • Dioxins and furans (polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins or PCDDs, and polychlorinated dibenzofurans or PCDFs).

    The Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) was then established to safeguard people and environment from these dangerous chemical by helping Parties to switch to safer alternatives and to clean up existing stockpiles.The objective of the Stockholm Convention is to protect human health and the environment from persistent organic pollutants