Proper solid waste management is an integral part of environmental conservation, especially in metropolitan settings such as Nairobi. The more we industrialize as a country, the more we have challenges such as solid waste that emanates from various sources such as our industries and even from our residences.

As we celebrate this Year’s World Habitat Day on October 1st 2018, we specifically reflect on the theme, ‘Municipal Solid Waste Management.

On this day, we pause for a while to reflect on the state of our towns and cities, and on the basic right of all to adequate shelter. It is also intended to remind the world that we all have the power and the responsibility to shape the future of our cities and towns.

But it is not just governments and urban authorities that should steer effort towards best solid waste management practices. “The private sector should also recognize that we have an imperative role to play on solid waste management“.

First, we must always be conscious of our environment as we dispose commercial related waste. Secondly, we should actively engage in finding lasting, effective, environmental friendly disposal solutions especially through public private partnerships,” says George Wachiuri, CEO, Optiven Group, a leading Kenyan real estate firm.

According to Ms. Maimunah Mohd Sharif, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Ms. Sharif, tackling solid waste management challenges requires imagination and innovation. “During my time as Mayor of the State of Penang, Malaysia, I introduced an idea of rethinking waste management, to complement the 3Rs of reducing, reusing and recycling.

Instead of allowing waste to be simply waste, a different approach to the concept of waste was introduced. We can all make small adjustments to our consumption styles, by using alternatives to disposable plastic items, such as bottles, cups, plates and cutlery, making a conscious effort to recycle correctly and fixing broken items instead of simply throwing them away.”

The Under-Secretary-General noted that the UN-Habitat is scaling up its role in supporting cities to improve their waste management practices, to lead in designing cost effective and efficient systems to ensure that the world collects and disposes of waste properly.

“I am therefore pleased, that on 1 October 2018, UN-Habitat and partners will discuss a call for action on Waste-Wise Cities recognizing cities that are leading in effective waste management,” she said.

Just like Optiven Group’s Chief Executive, Ms. Sharif believes that effective waste management should start at an individual level. “Through collective action, we can achieve a world that is cleaner, greener, safer, healthier and happier, for us to live, work and play. I look forward to your active engagement in Kenya and around the world on this day in our efforts to promote cleaner, greener, safer and healthier cities,” she notes.

World Habitat Day was established in 1985 by the United Nations General Assembly through Resolution 40/202, and was first celebrated in 1986.

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