Greening Strategies in Kenya

With the rise of global warming, every country in the world is seeking a sustainable way of solving this menace. African countries are not left behind, but are rather at the forefront in developing solutions to counteract global warming’s effect. Going green is one of the greatest achievements that countries have adopted to provide a sustainable future for their inhabitants. Going green is the application of environmentally-friendly techniques which involve reusing, recycling and reducing environmental pollutants. African countries have adopted this environmentally-friendly technique in order to save the continent as a whole.

As a member of the East Africa Community (E.A.C), Kenya’s government and private sector have led in implementing green policies as a means to save the country from devastating environmental effects.

With Kenya suffering water shortages and faced with a drought that has been decreed as a national disaster, going green ventures have been broadly adopted with increasing awareness among Kenyan citizens. The national government is working together with the devolved county governments to help the country escape the menace of drought and water shortage in order to stabilize and develop the agriculture sector.

Mumias Sugar Company, a leading sugar factory in Kenya that produces 250,000 metric tons of sugar, has developed an effective green business idea. The company undertook a Clean Development project (C.D.M) aimed to generate 35MW (megawatts) of electricity, with 10MW (megawatts) of internal consumption within the factory and the exportation of 25 MW for the national consumption grid. The company utilizes conventional steam power cycle technology, involving direct combustion of biomass (bagasse) in a boiler to raise steam, which is then expanded through a turbo-alternator to generate electricity. This process uses the steam produced in the factory. The project is aimed at reducing factory-produced greenhouse gas emissions (G.H.G) with an annual reduction estimation of CO2 e being 71,339.22 tons. The technology also involves generation of high-pressure steam from pressurized water, with the resulting steam expanding to drive a turbo-generator, and then condensing back to water for partial or full recycling to the boiler. This helps the company reduce its level of water usage. The company has an electrostatic precipitator installed to remove the particulate matter in the boiler flue gases, while a dry ash extraction system is used to remove the ash generated from the combustion. This is an improvement from the previous wet ash system, which resulted in some of the carbon and other compounds in the ash polluting the Nzoia River. Mumius Sugar Company is the first company in east Africa to use the high steam pressure technology to generate electricity for national consumption.

Kenya Airways (KQ), the leading airline company in Kenya, has undertaken a campaign to plant trees. Going places, staying green at home is an initiative meant to conserve Ngong Hills forest, which is at the verge of extinction due to illegal logging. The company launched the initiative to help the country achieve its millennium development goal through increasing forest cover to ensure environmental sustainability. The company aims to plant 1,000,000 trees and will assess the success of the project before undertaking others.

Ngong Hill is a water catchment area that provides water to people at Kajiando through the fog collector project, which is aimed at collecting water from fog. The process uses the application of condensation where atmospheric water vapour condenses on cold surface to form water droplets. The project researched by Professor Bancy Mati found that when water droplets are trapped by a special net erected as the fog collector, the resulting collected water can be directed to a tank. It is estimated that fog harvesting equipment of 40 square meters has the potential to generate up to 1200 liters of water daily. The fog collector is ideal for collecting rainwater more effectively than the roof rain water system. This system is an efficient way to provide water-shortage communities in arid and semi-arid areas with renewable fresh water.

Greening Kenya is a project adopted by a communication service provider in Kenya. SafariCom is the leading service provider in Kenya with the highest number of the Kenyan population as users. The service launched a program M-KOPA SOLAR, which is an initiative to aid their M-PESA customer with access to solar renewable electricity. The program is aimed at providing the customer with:

  • 8w high-quality solar panel
  • 3 L.E.D upgraded light bulbs with cable and switch
  • 1 L.E.D upgraded, portable and rechargeable touch
  • Phone-charging U.S.B with 5 standard connection
  • 1 upgraded rechargeable radio

The customer is offered a 1 year warranty, pays a deposit of 2999 Ksh and accepts the terms and condition by paying 50 Ksh daily for 365 days via a pay bill number through the customer M-PESA account. Upon full payment, ownership of the whole solar kit is granted. This initiative ensures that the people of rural Kenya have access to a clean source of lighting their home, as an alternative to the commonly used “koromboi” mode of lighting (a tin kerosene lamp). The program offers the customer a platform to save on kerosene, dry cells used to power the radio and the cost of charging their phones.

The devolved governments have also gone green. The project is aimed at providing citizens with an environment in which they can operate and conduct business to transform the economy into a 24-hour economy. Companies like Go Solar Limited have installed several solar-powered flood lights and street lights in Kenya. The traditional halogen lamps consumed 400 to 1500 watts of power, whereas the new L.E.D lamps consume 20 to 150 watts of power and have a better luminous intensity which results in brightly solar-powered streets, walk paths and roads that require lighting at night. Kisii County undertook a program to provide lighting to its streets by installing 200 solar-powered street lights at an estimated cost of 100 million shillings.

Kenyan citizens and private institutions have taken the burden to help the country salvage itself from environmental calamity. The private sector is very involved in these initiatives and bear the cost for the environmental programs they undertake.

With the rise in plastic bag use in Kenya, its disposal has resulted in a plastic nuisance, with several acreages of land covered in millions of kilograms of plastic. This issue has led to the need for reduction of this non-biodegradable material in the environment.

Nakumatt Kenya, a well-known supermarket in Kenya, launched the THINK GREEN GO BLUE initiative, encouraging their customers to allow their shopping to be packed in reusable bags, used cartons, Unga bales or their own carrying bags, instead of plastic bags. The campaign is meant to convince customers to reduce, reuse and recycle bags. The campaign has helped the company reduce its overhead cost on plastic bags by more than 15% since its launch four years ago.

ECO Post Kenya is a green business funded by Lorna Rutto. This company manufactures aesthetically pleasing, durable and environmentally-friendly fencing post. The company uses disposed plastic bags to produce eco-friendly posts used in the fencing compound. The company has saved over 250 acres of forest that would have been cut down to provide fencing in the economy. The company has also helped remove over 1 million kilograms of plastic bags from the environment since its inception.

Local women have used plastic waste to make bags and ornaments. Local weavers use plastic bags waste by converting it into strips of thread to make bags like kiondo (kikuyu women carrying bag).Plastic Fantastic Kenya is a company founded by Ciru Segal, who was compelled to help conserve the environment and restore the scenery around Nairobi. The company collects plastic bags with the help of school children, who bring used plastic bags from their homes. The company cleans the plastic and make strips which are used to make beauty products such as bracelets.

Kenya has joined hands with the East Africa Community to instate a total ban on plastic bag use. The country is following the 2016 EAC polythene material control bill proposed by Rwanda’s Patricia Hajabakiga. The bill provides a legal framework for the preservation of a clean and healthy environment through the prohibition of manufacturing, sale, importation and use of polythene materials. The light, non-biodegradable plastic bag mostly used for packaging in retail stores is the top environmental nuisance across East Africa. Judi Wakhungu, Kenya’s environment and natural resources cabinet secretary announced a ban on use, manufacture and importation of plastic bags. A Kenya Gazette notice dated February 28 offered a six month duration for the ban to become effective in Kenya.

There are various players at the frontline, both in the public eye and behind the scenes, to ensure the country is on track to mitigate environmental damage. They hope for a good future for Africa’s inhabitants through offering renewable sources of energy and joining hands to work as one. Greening Africa has led to innovations and inventions which have created employment opportunities while helping the state eradicate environmental destruction in its environs. The going green process in Kenya has offered a platform through which individual citizens can take ownership and help clean the environment.

The awareness of going green is growing, with new and effective ways continually being introduced, such as the use of environmentally-friendly techniques in building and finishing construction.

With increasing awareness of the effects of global warming and greenhouse gas emissions, countries must take the initiative to educate their citizen on measures to help green Africa to ensure a better tomorrow.

AAE

AAE is a volunteer-run organisation coordinated by a network of national teams.

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