The National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) hosted a side event on the sidelines of the Sixth united Nations environment Assembly (UNEA-6) on 29th February, 2024. The side event was themed, “circular economy and Extended Producer Responsibilities in addressing pollution control.”
The Principal Secretary for Environment and Climate Change, Eng, Festus Ngeno informed the delegates that all producers in Kenya have begun the process of depositing their Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) plans with NEMA. Further, the government has commenced punishment for those whose products are found polluting our rivers.
This is in line with the SWM Act (2022) that commits to promote use of recyclable items by requiring all producers to bear mandatory extended producer responsibility (EPR) obligations to prevent pollution and environmental impacts of the products they introduce into the Kenyan market and waste arising therefrom. He remarked that the radical shift to circular economy model will help to recover over 95% of its waste through segregation at source, further sorting at material recovery facilities and recycling.
He expressed Kenya’s commitment to managing pollution as was strongly demonstrated in 2017 when the ban ban on the use, manufacture and importation of plastics bags for commercial and household packaging was gazetted.
Subsequently, in 2019, the government expanded its efforts by banning single use plastics bottles, straws and related products within protected areas, demonstrating our commitment to preserving our natural heritage.
The PS was representing the Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Forestry, Hon. Soipan Tuya.
According to NEMA Director General, Mamo B. Mamo, the government through NEMA has developed and implemented a host of robust guidelines, standards, and permits aimed at promoting circular economy practices such as waste reduction, recycling, and sustainable resource management. In addition, through the Sustainable Waste Management Act, 2022, the Authority has brought producers together to deal with Extended Producer Responsibility to ensure a clean and healthy environment for all.
He added that the Kenyan Constitution, Article 42 gives Kenyans the right to a clean and healthy, however, he noted that the right comes with responsibilities for citizens to keep the environment clean. We have to take responsibility for our waste as we are the waste generator.
“United, we are a formidable force for good. Let us unite in our commitment to support national initiatives, paving the way for a future where sustainability is not just a choice but a fundamental principle guiding every action and decision,” Eric Lindebjerg from WWF International stated.
Board Director, Kenya Association of Manufacturers- Mucai Kunyiha stated that the journey towards a circular economy is not without challenges, but it is worth undertaking for benefit of all Kenyans.
“By aligning profit with purpose and embracing circular economy principles, we can create a future where prosperity is synonymous with sustainability of the environment and the economy in general,” Ms. Emilly Waita, KEPSA
“True change begins at the grassroots level. In the heart of our communities lies the pulse of transformation. She urged the participants to empower them with the knowledge, resources, and tools to become champions of environmental stewardship and guardians of our planet's future,” Ms. Mary Mwiti, Chief Executive Officer, Council of Governors.
UNEP Africa Regional representative, Dr. Cyrille-Lazare Siewe stated that bearing in mind that climate change poses an existential threat, then the circular economy and greening imperative should equally be prioritized and justified by evidence-based research that builds on change from business-as-usual scenario, and its GHG emissions and the 1.5°C scenario by 2040. It is now time for investors, Multinational Corporations and technology companies to shift strategic investments to reduce their pollution footprint.
The UN Environment Assembly is the world’s highest decision-making body on the environment. Its membership includes all 193 UN Member States. It meets biennially to shape global environmental policy.
The theme for the UNEA-6 is “Effective, inclusive and sustainable multilateral actions to tackle climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution”, which offers a moment to advance the global environmental agenda, building on the pledges made at the fifth session (UNEA-5).
More than 7,000 delegates from 182 UN Member met for UNEA-6. The Assembly has 19 resolutions and two decisions under discussion that covers a range of issues, including circular economy; effective, inclusive, and sustainable multilateral actions towards climate justice; solar radiation modification; sound management of chemicals and waste, and sand and dust storms.
“This is where the global community gathers to think big and dream bigger. To reimagine how we can work better, smarter, harder and faster – together. To hold the future that we want in our mind’s eye and make it happen”- Inger Andersen, Executive Director of UNEP.
The side event was organized by the NEMA, Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM), Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA) and World-Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).

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