Vital Signs Hosts the Waste Sector Working Group To Identify Gaps in the Sector

  • May 3, 2019
  • Posted by: bkibiti

By Mike Olendo & Muthoni Rose

Waste data, which includes information on solid waste disposal, biological treatment of solid waste, incineration and open burning of waste and waste water treatment and discharge is one of the four sectors considered in the computation of GHG emissions. However, on a global scale, post-consumer waste is a small contributor to global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions accounting for less than five percent of total emissions. The largest source is landfill methane (CH4), followed by wastewater CH4 and nitrous oxide (N02).

The country is in the process of preparing the Third National Report to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and as part of this, we are preparing a national GHG Inventory. On the 16th of April, the Climate Change Directorate (CCD) hosted the Waste Sector Working Group in a bid to identify and solve the gaps noted in their data as well as resolving modelling issues noted. This meeting was facilitated by Conservation International’s, Capacity Building Initiative for Transparency (CBIT) project in their efforts towards helping Kenya come up with a robust GHG Inventory.

Present in this meeting were representatives from the CCD, National Environment Management Agency (NEMA), and the Nairobi County Council (NCC). These are the main institutions in Kenya that deal with waste management. It was hosted by David Adegu, the National GHG Inventory Coordinator in Kenya. In Kenya, the sector is also a minor contributor to overall GHG emissions as compared to the other sectors but for reporting purposes, it is also included under the solid waste disposal, incineration and open burning of waste and waste water treatment and discharge sub-sectors.

Some of the gaps that had been previously identified included information on waste production (both industrial and domestic), and the burning of the said waste. Additional information on domestic waste water had been acquired by NEMA and would be shared with those present so as to be included in the master file. From previous meetings held, they had agreed to use population statistics and projections so as to get the solid waste disposal quantities.

It was noted that the Nairobi City Water and Sewerage Company, was going to share data on industrial waste water treatment but it was agreed that this data is negligible and contributes very little. “Despite this fact, we need to still document this information in the National Inventory Report (NIR) for clarity”, Wallace Ngollo from NEMA noted. Data on medical waste incineration remains unproven and has not been done in other countries for their NIRs. It had been suggested that hospital bed capacity can be used but this is full of gaps hence deemed untrustworthy. Further, the incineration data is very negligible.

The National GHG Inventory Coordinator noted that, “We need to see how to improve results and clean up data. Add areas under open burning and solid waste for hospitals. We will follow up from the 28th for QA/QC.” He further stated that the exercise would have a benefit of helping in the documentation as per the Second National Communication and what other countries have done.

It was agreed that the sector is headed towards finishing conclusively since they know what is missing and how to get it. On the issues of biological treatment of solid waste, it was agreed that Kenya has not got to that level and thus could not get that data and thus this subsector was discounted. It can be stated as an area of further improvement. The participants agreed to meet at the end of the month for the Waste sector workshop which is also being facilitated by the CBIT project. This will enable them to conclusively finish drafting the report for the NIR.

For more information, please contact Mike Olendo at

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