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NAIROBI, (Xinhua) -- United Nations Environmental Assembly (UNEA) outgoing President Edgar Gutierrez-Espeleta (3rd R) delivers a speech during the closing plenary of the third session of UNEA in Nairobi, Kenya. The third session of the United Nations Environmental Assembly (UNEA) ended in Nairobi on Wednesday with leaders pledging to end pollution for a clean environment. XINHUA PHOTO: LYU SHUAI
Kenya pledges stewardship to boost
regional anti-pollution initiatives       

NAIROBI, (Xinhua) -- Kenya pledged on Wednesday to take up the leadership mantle in order to boost regional efforts aimed at containing the menace of pollution.

Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Natural Resources Judi Wakhungu said Nairobi is in a vantage position to advance regional anti-pollution war based on its abundant expertise, innovations and macro-economic strength.

“As a government, we take the issue of solid waste management seriously and are ready to partner with neighboring countries to help them address pollution in their backyard,” said Wakhungu in a speech read on her behalf by the Director General of National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), Geoffrey Wahungu.

The ministry of environment had organized a symposium on the sidelines of the third edition of United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA3) to explain steps it had taken to eliminate plastic pollution.

During the assembly which ended in Nairobi on Wednesday, Kenya earned accolades from world environment ministers, campaigners and industry executives for enforcing a historic ban on manufacture, sale and use of plastic bags.

The ban was hailed as a precedent setter in the global efforts to eradicate plastic waste choking oceans, land and fresh water bodies.

Wakhungu said the East African nation had put in place solid measures to hasten attainment of pollution free status in line with global and regional pacts.

“The pollution control agenda is being implemented at all levels of our society to realize human and ecosystems health. Kenya can offer guidance to its neighbors on how to achieve environmental sustainability,” Wakhungu said.

Kenya has pioneered globally recognized initiatives to boost management of solid and liquid waste.

NEMA’s director-general Geoffrey Wahungu said enactment of robust policies and legislation has encouraged investments in waste recycling and ecosystems restoration.

“We have a vibrant waste recycling industry that has created millions of jobs while providing revenue to the exchequer. Regional cooperation is crucial to boost action on emerging pollution challenges like electronic waste,” said Wahungu.

He noted that knowledge sharing and skills transfer will strengthen regional efforts to halt cross- border movement of hazardous waste. 



Kenya plans to host East African Framework Agreement on air pollution


Global environment forum opens in Kenya with a call to combat pollution

By Christine Lagat NAIROBI, (Xinhua) -- The third United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA3) opened in Nairobi on Monday with delegates renewing call for collective efforts to tackle pollution.

The theme of this year’s global environment event, “Towards a Pollution-Free Planet,” seeks to rally governments, industry and civil society to support innovative waste management measures.

Delegates attending the three-day global environment assembly will discuss a raft of policy and technology based interventions to reduce the menace of pollution.

Edgar Gutierrez, President of UNEA3 and Costa Rican Minister for Environment and Energy, said that policymakers, industry leaders and grassroots campaigners are united in their resolve to find durable solution to the global pollution crisis.

“Everyone is affected by pollution and our collective goal is to reduce it through science-based interventions,” Gutierrez said, adding that political goodwill is required to tackle pollution menace.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the assembly, Judi Wakhungu, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Natural Resources, said “as we strive to develop and provide better services to our citizens, pollution has equally increased. It is time the world addressed this challenge without delay.”

“We all appreciate that a pollution free planet cannot be achieved in isolation, a strong reason for us to work together on the matter,” Wakhungu said.

She reaffirmed Kenya’s support for multilateral initiatives aimed at revitalizing war on pollution that is to blame for ecosystems depletion and a higher disease burden among poor communities.

Erik Solheim, Executive Director of UN Environment (UNEP), said that a vision for a pollution free planet can be achieved if key stakeholders step up their contribution.

“There are huge benefits if we fight pollution and they include creation of jobs and human health. We need to put pressure on politicians and business leaders to act on pollution,” Solheim said.

Ministers for environment, captains of industry, members of academia and civil society are expected to endorse sweeping measures to rejuvenate the fight against pollution at the end of the three day global environment assembly.


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