Environmental protection codes deliver growth


Scientists have warned about climate change. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Over the last century, human activities have added to the earth’s natural level of greenhouse gases such that their emission resulting in climate change. Some of the adverse effects of the phenomenon include frequent droughts and floods, increase in sea surface temperature, and altered rainfall patterns.

It is now estimated that the economic cost of floods and droughts in Kenya creates a long-term fiscal liability equivalent to between two percent and 2.8 percent of the country’s annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP). At the same time, rapid population growth and urbanisation have put tremendous strain on limited natural resources.

To reduce the adverse human impact, we need the political will, concrete action, and the right tools.

International standards are one such tool. These are guidelines or protocols developed by experts worldwide to advance voluntary technical agreements for consideration and universal use. Standards are used directly or modified to suit local conditions.

The application of environmental standards was the key focus in the just concluded World Standards Day celebrated annually on October 14. This year’s theme, Protecting the Planet with Standards, recognised the role of standards in supporting reduction of the environmental impact of industrial production processes.

With common standards, it becomes possible to develop similar protocols and methods used in developing energy-saving systems and protection of soil, water, and air quality.

As a developing country whose economy is dependent on climate-sensitive sectors, such as agriculture, Kenya must protect its environment to end poverty. To ensure their effectiveness and conformity with international commitments, these measures must meet global standards.

So far, the Government, through the Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs), has developed and adopted more than 1,100 environmental standards on air, water, and soil quality, greenhouse gas emissions and radiation, energy efficiency, clean energy and environmental aspects of products. These standards are aimed at mitigating the impact of human activities.

For example, air quality standards provide guidelines on tolerance limits and monitoring of emissions by factories, refineries, boilers, and power plants.


More recently, the government adopted the use of ICT to make its processes efficient, effective as well as providing an enabling environment to its population to adopt innovation. There are in place standards to regulate our commendable technological progress to ensure responsible and efficient use of energy.

The country strives to promote renewable energy and energy efficiency through incorporation of aspects of Minimum Energy Performances for appliances and devices such as lamps and refrigerators.

To stay within global benchmarks for environmental management, Kebs is adopting more international standards to support the realisation of the global Sustainable Development Goals.