FRONT: Environment and Forestry CS Keriako Tobiko (2nd L), CAS Mohammed Elmi (L), PS Chris Kiptoo (2nd R) and NEMA Acting Director General, Mamo B. Mamo (R) among other NEMA and ministry officials.

NEMA Board members, Management team and Staff on 20th July 2020 joined Environment and Forestry Cabinet Secretary, Keriako Tobiko in cleanup of Nairobi River at John Michuki Park and neighboring areas in the ongoing efforts to rehabilitate the park.

During the exercise, the CS launched 90-days of intensive crackdown on individuals discharging untreated effluent and toxic waste into Nairobi River.

The crackdown will be led by NEMA. The CS commended NEMA for the effort it's inspectors led by Ag. Director General Mamo B. Mamo have put in place as the river is now clean.

Also present during the event were CAS and PS Environment and Forestry Mohammed Elmi and Chris Kiptoo respectively as well heads of other institutions.

Nema Boad Chairman was presented by Board Member Peninah Aloo-Abudho. Other Board members present include Hon. Augustinho Neto, Teresia Malokwe, Prof. Bernabas Mitaru, Hon. Halima Ware and Dr. Juma Ngeiywa.

The cleanup of the park and the river is geared towards restoring its lost glory.

NEMA has put in place branded waste bins to assist in handling of solid waste in the park


Environment and Forestry PS Dr. Chris Kiptoo with NEMA Board Member, Dr. Juma Ngeiywa during the cleanup at Nairobi River


Environment and Forestry CS Keriako Tobiko leading the cleanup of Nairobi River


Environment and Forestry PS Dr. Chris Kiptoo with NEMA Board Member, Prof. Peninah Aloo during the cleanup at Nairobi River

Destruction and encroachment of green spaces is one of the causes of increased desertification in the country. Environment and Forestry Cabinet Secretary Keriako Tobiko said as he put on notice all individuals who have encroached Nairobi City Park in Parklands among other green spaces that the law must take its cause. The CS was speaking during the commemorations of World Desertification and Drought at City Park Nairobi on 17th June 2020.

This year, the day was commemorated through a slogan on “Food. Feed. Fibre.” This slogan largely seeks to educate all of us on how to reduce our personal impact on the environment particularly those associated with food production and consumption patterns.  This is mainly because if we keep producing and consuming as normally or as business as usual, we will eat into the planet’s capacity to sustain life until there is nothing left for the future generations and Mother Nature will treat us abnormally.

“Today, already most parts of our country face some conservation challenges often due to human activities in pursuit of food to feed people or to fibre production to support the relevant manufacturing industries.  In the course of availing these important human requirements, vast landscapes have faced wanton loss of natural aesthetics as well as agricultural potential and as the situation proceeds, these once fascinating and high potential environments assume new ecological characteristics close to desert conditions and droughts become more severe and frequent,” the CS noted.

The CS was accompanied by his Chief Administrative Secretary, Hon. Mohammed Elmi and Permanent Secretary Dr. Chris Kiptoo. The duo expressed their support for the ongoing efforts to conserve the environment especially green spaces in the region.

NEMA Chairman John Konchellah stated that desertification and land degradation remains among the greatest challenges to sustainable development and addressing issues around the spread of desertification and impacts of drought will greatly enhance realization of the Kenya’s development agendas as spelled in Vision 2030 and Sustainable Development Goals.

Mr. Konchellah noted that NEMA has taken a lead role in coordinating and supervising all matters environment and implementation of all policies on environment in Kenya.  To realize this, the Authority’s Strategic Plan 2019 – 2024 has set clear milestones to be realized.  Further in-line with the EMCA, 1999, the Authority publishes the Kenya State of Environment Report with the latest being the State of Environment Report 2016 -2018 aligned to Kenya Environmental Performance Index (KEPI) 2018.  

These sentiments were echoed by the Acting NEMA Director General, Mamo B. Mamo who put on notice individuals disposing waste into green spaces in the country. This, according to the Mr. is one of the reasons that has led to destruction of various protected areas as well as riparian reserves. “Kenya like many other nations in the world is threatened by desertification, land degradation and drought. In areas like North Eastern, the deserts have once eaten the once potential landscapes turning it into inhabitable landscape that cannot support humans, livestock and even wildlife,” Mr. Mamo said.

Nairobi City Park was initially a 90-acres piece of land donated by the Gikuyu Community to the Government. Due to uncontrolled development and illegal encroachment, the land has been hived illegally by developers and now only remains 63 acres. The park also hosts critical monuments of Kenyans history such as the war veterans - Vice President Joseph Murumbi and his wife Sheila and Pio Gama Pinto among others.

World Desertification and Drought Day is observed annually every 17th June to promote public awareness relating to international cooperation to Combat Desertification, land degradation and reduce effects of drought. Kenya signed the United Nations Convection to Combat Desertification in 1994 and ratified in 1997. In-line with the requirements for domesticating the convention, Kenya has observed this day since 1995 at various parts of the Country mainly at the Arid and Semi-Arid counties.


Enapuiyapui wetland in Nakuru County 


This is a sub-department under the Directorate Department and draws its mandate from  Sections 42 & 55 of EMCA that deal specifically with management and conservation of rivers, lakes and wetlands; and coastal and marine environments respectively to address issues of fresh water, coastal and marine ecosystems.

The main functions of the sub-department include:
1)  Promoting conservation and sustainable utilization of coastal, marine and freshwater resources (CMF),

2) Implementation of relevant MEAs, and development and implementation of a National Wetlands Policy;

3) Coordinating and harmonize CMF conservation and management activities, including those of lead agencies, the private sector, NGOs and communities;

4) Developing and supervising the implementation of management plans for the sustainable utilization and conservation of the coastal zone and inland aquatic ecosystems through the development of the Integrated Coastal Zone Management plan (ICZM).

5) Collaborating with the relevant partners to ensure monitoring and inventories of aquatic ecosystems to assist in their proper management, and to identify appropriate measures to prevent or minimize pollution;

6) Coordinating the coastal and marine sub-theme under the KCDP Environment Initiative; leading NEMA’s participation in shared aquatic ecosystem processes.

7) Coordination the commemoration of the World Wetlands Day.

EMCA 1999 provides for conservation and management of Kenya’s Coastal, Marine and Freshwater resources Sections 42 & 55 of EMCA deal specifically with management and conservation of rivers, lakes and wetlands; and coastal and marine environments respectively

EMCA Wetlands, Riverbanks, lakeshores and Sea shore regulations protect aquatic resources and their riparian zones and are enforced by PECs and DECs
Other EMCA regulations such as Water Quality and EIA protect aquatic ecosystems through setting of high effluent discharge standards and controlling developments respectively

CMF sub-dept. was therefore formed to promote conservation and sustainable use of Kenya’s Coastal, Marine and Freshwater resources as per EMCA 1999 and NEMA Strategic plan 2008-2012

1.    State of the Coast Report
The State of the Coast Report 2008 is the first of its kind in Kenya. It highlights the status, trends, threats  and impacts to Kenya’s coastal and marine environment. The report has been compiled by a National Task Force constituted by the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) in 2004.

2.    Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) National Plan of action
The goal of the ICZM Action Plan is to conserve the coastal and marine environment and to ensure that its resources are utilised in a sustainable manner for the benefit of coastal communities and the national economy. Inspired by the need to balance environmental management interests with economic development interests, the ICZM Action Plan is set to foster a coordinated and integrated approach to resource utilization and management for sustainable development.

3.    Shoreline Management strategy
This document outlines a strategy for shoreline management in support of overall coastal zone planning and decision-making. The strategy takes a macro view of Kenya’s shoreline to ensure all issues are identified and national and regional development policies are taken into account.

4.     Draft ICZM Policy
The sub-department has developed a draft ICZM Policy. The policy gives recommendations on the protection of the various coastal ecosystems including Coral Reefs, Mangrove Forests, Coastal Forests, Sea Grass Beds, Deltas and Estuaries, Marine Protected areas, Fisheries, Water Resources, Shoreline changes, Community Issues, Land use and management, Access and Benefit Sharing, Research and Monitoring, Education and Awareness. Once complete, the policy will give recommendations on the institutional arrangements for ensuing integrated approach towards management of coastal and marine resources.

5.    Draft Coastal Pollution Prevention and Control guidelines
Among the major threats that have been identified, facing the coastal and marine environment is pollution, resulting mainly from land-based sources, and to some extent, from marine based activities. Pollution loads come in form of solid waste, sewage, and chemical and effluent discharges into the aquatic environment. Thus, several economic activities carried out within the coastal zone and the associated hinterland catchments, contribute significantly to environmental pollution of the marine ecosystem.

6.    Lake Ol Bolossat Management Plan
Management plan for Lake Ol Bolossat identifies issues and proposes management interventions to tackle the issues. It makes recommendations for Biodiversity and Research, Water Management, Infrastructure development, human wildlife conflict, Forestry and Tourism Management.  The plan also encourages participation of various stakeholders including local communities in management of the Lake. The plan was launched in January 2010.

7.     Lake Jipe Integrated Management Plan
Lake Jipe Management Plan gives a description of the Ecosystem. The overall purpose of the management plan is to guide the sustainable and equitable use of natural resources in the lake Jipe Ecosystem.

9.    The National Wetlands Policy
The sub-department is also spearheading review of the draft National Wetlands Policy. The draft Policy has been approved by the National Environment Council and will be tabled at Cabinet. The Policy gives guidance on management and sustainable use of Kenyan wetlands, as part of the country’s obligations and as a signatory to the RAMSAR Convention on Wetlands. The Policy gives guidance on activities that should be carried out near wetlands in order to ensure that wetlands continue performing their critical ecological, hydrological and buffering functions.
Download wetlands policy.

10.    Wetlands Assessment and Monitoring Strategy for Kenya (WAMSK)
Given the vast importance of wetland resources, the department worked with consultants to develop a WAMSK to help enhance and simplify wetland monitoring across the country. WAMSK proposes ease but reliable ways to monitor the health of wetland ecosystems most of which are faced with degradation. The aim of the assessment to help initiate restoration measures.


World Wetlands Day Celebrations 2020

The Environment and Forestry Cabinet Secretary, Keriako Tobiko has ordered the removal of all eucalyptus planted near Enapuiyapui wetland, Nakuru County. Speaking during World Wetlands Day celebrations, Tobiko directed all eucalyptus to be cut down and the proceeds be used to plant indigenous trees within the area. 


NEMA Board of management holding a Bamboo seedling during the celebrations


Mr. Tobiko directed agencies including NEMA, Kenya Water Towers, Kenya Forest Service to start mapping and surveying the wetland to identify the actual size of the wetland to facilitate the gazettement of the wetland as an internationally recognized Ramsar site. He also directed that no community will be allowed to graze their animals inside the wetland as it interferes with the growth of natutal vegetation.

 Enapuiyapui Swamp which is located in Nakuru County. The Swamp is not a gazette as wetland but exists within a government gazetted forest.   It is the source of the Amala and Nyangores tributaries of the Mara River.  The Swamp is within the Kiptunga forest substation that forms part of the Mau complex.

During this year celebrations, a total of 830 beehives were given to the community of Kiptunga for the locals to benefit from the wetland and as a way of improving their livelihoods with NEMA donating 100 beehives. The community will also be trained on the use of the modern beehives.

The community was also requested to engage in extensive tree planting in their homes to increase tree cover. Environment PS Dr. Chris Kiptoo said trees are not only meant for environmental conservation but also have many economic values. He urged the residents of Molo to plant trees like avocados which are source of income.


CS Environment and Forestry, Keriako Tobiko planting a Bamboo tree during the wetlands celebrations at Enapuiyapui Swamp in Nakuru County


NEMA Board Chairman, Mr. John Konchellah urged the public to protect the wetlands as if their lives depends on it. He stated that NEMA will continue to crackdown on those encroaching on riparian reserves to ensure they are protected.

He further warned those still using the banned products that law will catch up with them. “NEMA will also intensify enforcement on the banned plastic paper bags that are finding the way into the country through the porous borders,” Mr. Konchellah said.

“Wetlands provide very essential ecosystem services such as water regulation like flood control, Carbon dioxide absorption and reduction in pollution. Indeed Wetlands acts as giant filters, they are often referred to as ‘The Kidneys of the Earth’ just like forests are the ‘Lungs of the Earth,’ said NEMA Acting Director General Mamo B. Mamo as he urged residents to coexist with the wetland as millions rely on them.

The convention on wetlands known as the Ramsar Convention was adopted in 1971 and came into force in 1975. Kenya became a contracting party to the convention in October 1990 and since then, six wetlands have been designated as Ramsar sites.   Every year on the 2nd of February we celebrate the World Wetlands Day to commemorate the signing of the convention.  The celebrations aim at promoting conservation and wise use of wetlands internationally.


The guests present during the celebrations at Enapuiyapui Swamp in Nakuru County


In Kenya, NEMA has been coordinating the national World Wetlands Day celebrations since 2004 in collaboration with various stakeholders. The theme for this year’s celebrations is ‘Wetlands and Biodiversity’, under the slogan wetlands for better lives.

This year’s venue, Enapuiyapui swamp, is has very few trees to cover the vulnerable water catchment that gives life to millions of people and animals. Eucalyptus, pine, cypress, cider, grass and reeds are the main vegetation found around the swamp.

The rising population among the forest dwellers is one of the biggest and major threats facing this wetland. Large herds of grazing livestock trample on the wetland, leaving it bare and destroyed.   

Following claims of pollution of water bodies and environment in Nyanza region, the government has formed a multiagency team to look into the dire issue and crackdown on facilities polluting the lake for 10 days Rapid Results Initiative from 24th February to 6th March 2020.


Inspection of Kiwasco treatment plant in Kisumu led by Environment and Forestry PS, Dr. Chris Kiptoo, CEOs of several organizations including NEMA Acting DG Mamo B. Mamo

The team is led Environment and Forestry Principal Secretary Dr. Chris Kiptoo and Regional Commissioner, Nyanza Region, James Kianda. The team is comprised of NEMA, Water Resources Authority, Kenya Fisheries Service, Lake Victoria Environmental Management Program, and County Government of Kisumu among others.

The exercise is meant to address issues on industrial effluent, mapping illegal effluent discharge points, illegal dumpsites, informal settlements and cleanup and enforcement, which NEMA is taking a lead role.


NEMA officers undertaking onsite testing and analysis of effluent from KIWASCO treatment plant flowing to River Kisat

During his visit meeting with stakeholders and field visit to some of the facilities, Environment PS Chris Kiptoo noted that no facility will be allowed to operate if it is polluting the environment. He noted, the team has been given expressive directive to crackdown on all facilities compromising the environment.

Dr. Kiptoo opined that the law should be applied equally when undertaking the inspections. Dr. Kiptoo was accompanied his counterpart in Fisheries department, Pro. Micheni Ntiba. Prof. Ntiba noted that despite alarming reports of contamination of fish in Lake Victoria with chemicals and heavy metals, the fish were still safe for human consumption as the rate of pollution was still low. However, he urged the team to ruthlessly deal with anybody polluting the Lake.

“Lake Victoria suffers from pollution from human activities in the Lake Victoria basin. The pollution is conspicuously manifested in Kisumu area because of the city’s geographical location on a gulf that receives pollutants brought by action of waves from around the city and distant places. Once in the gulf, the pollutants are unable disperse because of limited wave/currents,” Dr. Kiptoo stated.


PS Environment and Forestry, Dr. Chris Kiptoo speaking at Maseno University during the meeting with the VC on management of effluent at the University

Speaking during a meeting with the agencies involved in the exercise, NEMA Acting Director General, Mamo B. Mamo noted that the Authority has been working around the clock to address issues of industrial effluent. For instance, during the Rapid Results Initiative conducted in 2019, 298 facilities in 14 counties were inspected and those who did not comply to Water Quality Regulations, 2006 were closed and others prosecuted.

Mr. Mamo noted that, “Article 42 of the Constitution guarantees people the right to a  clean and healthy environment. However, this right comes with a responsibility. As a waste generator, we should not expect someone to pick the waste for us. We should stop the throw away culture.”

To support the enforcement effort throughout the country, Mr. Mamo stated that NEMA will gazette environmental inspectors at the County level and establish a code of conduct to monitor operation of the inspectors.

The enforcement efforts targeted facilities that were discharging into the rivers or environment such as Maseno University, Kenya Pipeline Corporation, Coca Cola Africa Beverage Company, Tuskys Mall, Kibos Prison, Kodiaga Prison, Agrochemicals, informal settlements and Kiwasco at Nyalenda and Kisat.

Agrochemicals has been closed as it has not complied with orders issued earlier. Maseno University has constructed lagoons based on an order issued where they are temporary channeling their effluent as the university work on a long term solution to the problem.


NEMA Acting Director General, Mamo B. Mamo speaking during a meeting with stakeholders at Tom Mboya Labour College in Kisumu during the 10 days RRI in Nyanza Region

NEMA agreed to take the university through a compliance assistance process to ensure that the challenge of effluent discharge at the facility is dealt with. This was agreed upon when a team led by Environment and Forestry PS Dr. Chris Kiptoo visited Maseno University and agreed on a commitment with the University’s Vice Chancellor Prof. Julius Nyabudi.

Kisumu Water and Sanitation Company was also discharging effluent into the river that does not meet the standards as well as regular burst of their pipes. The team led by NEMA and Water Resources Authority undertook onsite water testing and analysis to assess the compliance standards of treated effluent being discharged into River Kisat. It was agreed that Kiwasco should regularly monitor their system to ensure that they do not pollute the environment.

Kibos Sugar Closure

During the RRI in Nyanza region, the parliamentary Committee on Education and Research requested the Ministry of Environment and Forestry to carry air quality monitoring at the Kibos Special Schools to assess the environmental impact of Kibos Sugar Company to the neighborhood.

This was done using the air quality monitoring laboratory to measure the pollutants such as Sulphur dioxide, Hydrogen Oxide, Ammonia, Carbon dioxide, methane, Benzene among other gases. Kibos Sugar Company was found to be emitting these gases.

Through observation, the company was emitting a black smoke affecting the neighborhood. Moreover, there was a heap of sludge emptied which was emitting a foul smell.

A team of NEMA inspectors led by the Acting NEMA Director General Mamo B. Mamo resolved that Kibos Sugar Company should be closed until it complies with all the conditions given to it.

Arrest and Prosecution

Following the 10 days RRI on effluent discharge and solid waste management in Kisumu that took place from 25th Feb-5th March 2020,the following arrests and prosecutions were made; production manager and contractor at Coca-Cola Company were arrested and charged in court for inappropriate transfer of industrial waste. They were released on cash bail of Ksh. 100,000 and 500,000 respectively; KIWASCO plant attendant was also arrested, charged and given Cash bail of Ksh 100,000, manager Abyssinia Steel Mills arrested and charged, exhauster driver among others.

Several environmental restoration orders were also issued to individuals and institutions


In an effort to improve efficiency and accountability in license / permit application and processing, NEMA has automated some of its business processes.

Our clients will now be required to submit all their applications online by accessing the NEMA licensing system either through the E-citizen portal ( or by following the NEMA licensing portal link on NEMA website.

On successful submission of their online applications, the clients will receive an email prompting for payment through various payment platforms such as M-pesa, Debit/Credit cards, Airtel Money, T-cash, Equity Cash, Pesa Link, KCB Cash among others. Once this payment has been made, the client will not need to visit our offices to verify payment as a copy of the receipt will be shared on email and the confirmation received within NEMA.

The license/ permit will then be processed and the client will be communicated once it is ready for collection.


License Application_Citizens_Manual. Download

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