Saving environment through standards must keep us awake


Most developing countries including Kenya may not have paid much attention to COP26 held late last year in Glasgow.

The global summit themed ‘Net Zero’, could not be held at a better time, if not earlier. Many developing countries continue experiencing devastating effects of climatic change.

The focus of this engagement hinged on securing a brighter future for our children and future generations — a commitment that requires countries to take urgent action to turn the tide on climate change.

It was with ambition, courage and collaboration that leaders voiced issues for the world to recover cleaner, rebuild greener and restore the planet.

Some countries have developed policies to reduce carbon emission under the green industrial revolution concept. For example, UK has committed to end the sale of new petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030.

Setting sights towards global concerns, the Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) has adopted various standards to minimise carbon footprint and preserve air quality.

These include KS ISO 14064- 1 & 2 that provide the country’s standard of limits in greenhouse gas emissions; KS ISO 10155:1995 that guides stationary source emissions to regulate air quality; KS EAS 752:2010 that sets maximum levels for tolerance of emissions discharged in the air, as well as KS EAS 158 on acceptable lead levels in gasoline specifications.

To minimise emission of fossil fuels, Kebs has developed standards KS ISO 22241:2021. The standards are a catalyst that reduce Nitrogen Oxides (NOx). These are a family of poisonous, highly reactive gases. Additionally, the Bureau has gazetted regulations that govern the emission levels of both manufactured and imported vehicles requiring they comply with Euro IV emission levels.

More recently, the government adopted the use of ICT to make its processes efficient and effective. By providing an enabling environment to its population to adopt innovation, the Bureau has cushioned the environment from harm as it continues to put in place standards to regulate technological progress.

Some of the notable standards, which Kebs has developed are KS 2880-1:2020 and KS 2879-1:2020, both of which set Minimum Energy Performance Standards (MEPS) for ICT equipment.

Safeguarding the quality of water is important for both human and aquatic life as outlined in SDG 14: Life Below Water which addresses conservation and sustainable use of the oceans, seas and marine resources.

Some of the standards that protect health of water bodies include KS ISO 8689-1:2000 that outlines the biological classification of rivers; an important water source for a majority of the country’s population.

KS 1966-1:2007 guidelines provide the tolerance levels of effluents discharged into the river, while KS 2067-2:2009 provides methods of sampling wastewater whose contaminant load originates from sugar industries.

These standards will in the long-term help Kenya to build sustainable cities and communities.

Kebs continues to develop standards that address all the 17 SDGs.