By Emily Mikwa
A visionary multi-sector partnership designed to give Kisumu residents their right to a clean, healthy environment devoid of diseases has been officially launched by the County Government in collaboration with Complex Urban Systems for Sustainability and Health (CUSSH) at the Pinecone Hotel in Kisumu on Friday.
Public engagement approach is an all-inclusive participatory initiative where the stakeholders and the waste handlers especially from the four targeted informal settlements in Kisumu will be brought on board to share innovative ideas on how to manage waste within the county.
Therefore, based on this premise, the CUSSH project targets to capacity build waste handlers within four informal settlements in Kisumu: Nyalenda, Obunga, Kondele and Manyatta in a bid to co-develop local solutions with residents and community-based organizations, co-develop accessible materials to communicate challenges and solutions, encourage media communication around environment and health and to share interactive decision science, case studies, and artistic responses from Kisumu web portal that will subsequently include other emerging subsidiary towns
While representing the CECM Water, Environment, Climate Change and Natural Resources, Mr. Salmon Orimba, the Director in charge of Environment policy and strategy development Mr. Dan Ong’or, who presided over the official launch of the project, outlined some of the interventions the county government has implemented for the last three years.to ensure a clean, healthy environment for the people.
He stated that the County government has developed a raft of measures including policies on climate change Act and policy, the solid waste management policy and Act which is underway. The measures in place include: regular cleaning of Kachok and residential, development of departmental strategic Plan, Waste infrastructure/facility-Kasese-recycling unclogging drainages, un and Operationalizing tree nurseries towards 10% tree cover
Mr. Ong’or further underscored the significance of having the community participate in this program since waste management requires inclusivity, leaving no one behind and that waste offers employment opportunities along the value chains.
The Kisumu Central sub county Administrator, Mr. Jagero on his part emphasized on the slogan “Our planet is our health” to call on everyone to take responsibility in waste management to make our environment clean now that Africities conference 2021 to be hosted in Kisumu is fast approaching.
He pledged support to waste handlers advising them to use government structure up to the village level to report on challenges they face when dealing in waste.
The Director Environment and Stewardship Mr. Ken Koyooh noted that the CIDP promotes public engagement and sensitization promising to ride on this to have the people work as a team on matters waste management.
He reiterated that the county will provide an enabling environment as guided by the principles of solid waste management Act 2015 which is currently being reviewed on sustainability issues.
Mr. Koyooh was also optimistic that the knowledge shared among waste actors will offer local or homegrown solutions that will assist in shaping behavior change by ensuring proper sorting of waste at the production level for proper disposal or recycling.
Sentiments shared by the Director Climate Change, Mr. Evans Gichana who also announced that the Climate Change Act of 2020 is complete and ready for launch come next week, explaining that the Act gives provision of 2% of the development allocation to go into climate change programs where waste management is a component.
Mr. Harun who represented the City Director for environment Mr. Ben Otieno acknowledged that urbanization comes with a lot of challenges on waste management, recalling how this led to the development of Kisumu sustainable integrated solid waste management formulated 20years ago to engage communities on waste management.
With the increasing population, Mr. Harun says Kisumu generates 0.4 tons per capita multiplied with the number of households, highlighting that the principle of waste management includes collection, transportation, sorting and disposal.
He says Kachok has been partially decommissioned but it is a laborers process, since getting a dumpsite has been a challenge given that the better part of Kisumu sits on a marshland (flood prone) hence recycling is key to waste management.
Madam Isabella Asamba from Maseno University on her part gave an overview of the goal of the project, the partners involved and how they plan to engage the public through identification of waste champions, mapping waste hotspots, the opportunities, the challenges and how to develop homegrown solutions on waste management. The event was also marked with the veteran waste handlers from the targeted informal settlements sharing their experiences highlighting on the opportunities and challenges that comes with waste handling and exhibitions of artistic works made from recycled waste materials such as woven bags, building blocks, necklaces, and cards among others.