The Local Government Act Cap 265 at Section 160 gives local authorities power to establish and maintain sanitary services for the removal and destruction of or otherwise dealing with all kinds of refuse and effluence and where such a service is established, it gives local authorities power to compel the use of such a service by persons to whom the service is available.
Under Section 162 the Local Authority has power to compel occupiers or where the premises are vacant owners to keep their premises free from all unwholesome matter.
Under Section 201 Local Authorities have power to make bylaws on matters necessary for maintaining health, safety and well-being of the inhabitants and for the prevention and suppression of nuisances.
Acting under those powers the city of Nairobi made the following bylaws in the good old days of colonialism
1. The city of Nairobi General Nuisance Bylaws NO. 275 of 1961;
2. City of Nairobi Conservancy bylaws No. 69 of 1961;
3. City of Nairobi Restaurants, Eating Houses and Snack-bars bylaws No. 674 of 1961
4. The City of Nairobi Slaughterhouses Bylaws No. 325 of 1966;
5. City of Nairobi Hairdressers and Barbers Bylaws No. 146 of 1970;
6. City of Nairobi food shops and stores bylaws No. 384 of 1956;
7. City of Nairobi Hawkers bylaws No. 748 of 1963.
8. The Local Government Adoptive by laws (Building Order) No. 15 of 1968
The conservancy bylaws deal with the collection of refuse. It requires the council to provide receptacles (waste bins) at premises and to require that all refuse for disposal be placed in the receptacle for collection by the council’s refuse collection service. In the good old days the council did provide waste bins. The Bylaws impose a charge for the higher of the receptacle and for the service of emptying the receptacle. The charge is imposed on the occupier of the premises and the occupier is defined as the person who enters into an agreement to pay for a water supply to the premises from the council.
The building code deals with the removal of building debris and it provides that any person who deposits or causes to be deposited any builders material upon any street shall be guilty of an offence. The general nuisance bylaws prohibit the deposit of solids, vegetation or refuse on any land in the city. It provides that it is an offence to place deposits or leave behind any carton, paper or other rubbish so as to create later or to throw down or leave behind any orange peel, banana skin or other substances likely to cause a person to fall down. Any person who while being in charge of a dog allows such a dog to foul any footpath is also guilty of an offence.
The other six bylaws have a standard provision which gives the council power to refuse to issue a licence or to cancel a licence if the premises are not provided with adequate sanitary arrangements.
Other statutes also contain limited provisions dealing with management of solid waste. The medical Practitioners and Dentists Act which is Cap 253 deals with the management of Hospital Waste. Section 4 constitutes the Medical Practitioner and Dentist Board. Section 15 gives the Board power to authorise the use of premises for the purposes of the practice of medicine. In determining an application for authorisation, the Board must consider whether provision has been made for the disposal of the hospital’s pathogenic waste.
The Scrap Metal Act Cap 503 Laws of Kenya prohibits dealing in scrap-metal without a dealers licence. The Dealers License is issued by the Police. The statute prohibits a licence dealer from storing or dealing in any scrap metal elsewhere than at the premises specified in the licence.
The Use of Poisonous Substances Act Cap 247 Laws of Kenya requires the Minister to make regulations to protect persons from poisoning by substances arising from the storage, transport sale and disposal of material.
The Food Drugs and Chemical Substances Act Cap 254 Laws of Kenya provides that any person who disposes of any chemical substances in any way that might cause contamination of food or water for human consumption commits an offence.
The Radiation Protection Act Cap 243 Laws of Kenya provides that disposal of radioactive material requires a licence and the person responsible must appoint someone experienced in radiation health and safety matters to take proper care of the waste.
The Environmental Management and Coordination Act has also introduced provisions dealing with the management of waste. Section 91 gives power to the standards and enforcements review committee to recommend criteria for classifying waste. One of the classes of waste is solid waste.
With regard to the management of waste the Act requires that any person managing waste must not handle the waste or dispose of it in such a manner as to cause pollution to the environment or ill-health to any person. Secondly any person transporting waste requires a valid licence to transport waste issued by the authority. Thirdly the person transporting waste may only transport it to the waste disposal site established in accordance with the licence issued by the Authority and no person shall operate a waste disposal site or a plant without a licence issued by the authority.
In applying for the licence, the operator is required to undertake an environmental impact assessment of the proposed activity and in considering the application for a licence, the authority shall take into account whether there exists planning commission for the site. There must be a planning commission in addition to an environmental impact assessment.