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RECYCLING


This is using an item but in a different form e.g. paper, paper can start as writing paper to toilet paper etc, it changes its form. Usually in order to make an item recyclable, it is necessary to remove the impurities which converted it into waste in the first place.  Ordinarily the generation of waste will require that the waste that results at the end is disposed off.  Even where waste is minimized, at some stage one still ends up with some waste and that waster has to be disposed off. 

Waste is disposed off either in a Landfill which is the process of burying solid waste in the ground or by incineration.  A properly designed landfill constitutes an effective disposal method.  In designing a landfill there are 3 issues to out for

1.            The control of methane gas – by-product of by-product arising from the decomposition of wasteproduct of hyrdocarbon
2.            Control of Leachate – this is the liquid by-product arising from the decomposition of waste.  It is highly polluting particularly to ground water and needs to be collected and disposed off.  This is used by treating the waste by covering with layoff soil.
3.            Control of Smell

 Incineration is the second method of disposing of waste.  It is the process of burning waste at High temperatures.  It is very expensive and therefore it is not used for management of bulk waste.  It is restricted to disposing of pathogenic waste.  Pathogenic waste is waste with pathogens (bacteria and viruses) waste from hospitals.  That sort of waste is destroyed through incineration for the reason that the high temperatures destroy the pathogens.

There are several categories of waste.  Broadly waste is divided into solid waste and hazardous waste.

Solid waste refers to waste which contains few hazardous characteristics.  Examples of solid waste are waster from domestic establishments and street litter.  Waste from domestic establishment will be dirty water from the kitchen and things from the toilet and street litter is i.e. banana peels and papers.  Within solid waste there is what is referred to as Municipal waste which the municipal council is responsible for collecting.

Hazardous waste is waste with characteristics which present a danger to human health or to the environment.  These characteristics that present danger to human health are list in Section 91 of the Environment … and it is that waste item has characteristics that make it corrosive or carcinogenic or flammable or toxic or explosive or radioactive or finally persistent (items that do not biodegrade easily such as polythene).

Carcinogenic means that a substance has the ability to mutate and therefore cause cancer.  Radioactive items that emit ultra violet rays, their capacity to penetrate objects leads to mutation which can lead to cancer.

In Kenya the management of solid waster has a very recent legislative history.  On the whole the laws dealing with solid waste management are found in the Public Health Act Cap 242 Laws of Kenya, the Local Government Act Cap 240 Laws of Kenya and more recently the Environmental Management and Coordination Act.

Section 116 of Cap 242 imposes a duty on every local authority to take all lawful necessary and reasonably practicable measures for maintaining its district  at all times in a clean and sanitary condition and for preventing the occurrence therein or for remedy or causing to be remedied any nuisance or condition liable to be injurious or dangerous to health.  It also imposes on the Local Authority the responsibility to take action against any person causing or responsible for the continuance of any such nuisance or condition.

Section 118 defines what constitutes a nuisance and provides 5 categories of nuisances
1.            Any street, road, stream, ditch, sink water closet, urinal soakaway pit,  refuse pit, ash pit, manure heap, garbage receptacle, dustbin or septic tank which is so foul or in such a state as in the opinion of the medical officer of health to be offensive or to be injurious or dangerous to health;

2.            Any accumulation or deposits of refuse, offal or manure or other matter which is offensive or which is injurious or dangerous to health;

3.            Any accumulation of stones, timber or other material which in the opinion of the medical officer of health is likely to harbour rats or other vermin.

4.            Any area of land kept or permitted to remain in such a state as to be offensive or liable to cause any infections, communicable or preventable disease or injury or danger to health.

5.            Any act, omission or thing which may be dangerous to life or injurious to health.

Where an item falls under the jurisdiction of the Local Authority to deal with as a nuisance Part IX of the Public Health Act provides a procedure known as a nuisance abatement procedure for dealing with nuisances.  Under this procedure the Medical Officer of Health who is based at the Local Authority, they are employees of the Ministry of Health serves a notice on the author of the nuisance if the author cannot be found the notice is served on the occupier of the dwelling.  The Notice will require the removal of the Nuisance within a specified time and it will specify the works to be carried out to remove the nuisance, it is the removal which is known as abatement of the nuisance.  If the notice is not complied with the Medical Officer of Health shall cause a complaint to be made to a Magistrate who again is station at the local authority and the Magistrate shall issue a summons requiring the person to appear before the court.  if the Magistrate is satisfied that the nuisance exists or may recur the magistrate shall order compliance with the notice.

If the order is not complied with the Medical Officer shall again cause a complaint before the Magistrate and the Magistrate shall again issue a summons and on this occasion the Magistrate shall in addition to ordering the removal of the nuisance impose a fine which is a daily fine which accumulates until the nuisance is removed.  If the person still refuses to remove the nuisance the medical officer of health shall at that time force a complaint before the magistrate and this time the magistrate shall order the local authority to remove the nuisance and recover its costs for doing so from the author of the nuisance or the occupier of the premises.  The removal of the nuisance may require the demolition of the structures responsible for the nuisance in which case the magistrate shall order the demolition of the structures accordingly.

One does not have to wait until waste has become a nuisance in order to abate it. 

 
 
 

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