Omuthiya Town Council is presenting an avalanche of draft guidelines on the management and regulation of public environmental health and wellbeing in Omuthiya.
In absence of these regulations, the town council has been finding it difficult to act swiftly to some of the irregularities happening within the town, as it does not have the necessary laws in place under which it can act. Such notable irregularities giving council a headache is the street vendors who freely conduct their business anywhere in town.
The draft guidelines include solid waste management, public environment health and wellbeing, informal trading within a healthy environment and the naming policy and guideline. The regulations are being presented by an independent consultants, Jana de Kock, and are open for public input before they can be finalised.
“What is happening now is that the officials, especially the health inspector, are finding it difficult to enforce some of these regulations because there are no laws, only the word of mouth [on what is purportedly not permitted] which people tend to ignore at times,” stated the chief executive officer of Omuthiya, Samuel Mbango who reaffirmed the significance of the bylaws.
“Therefore once this process is done and implemented, council will have the power to enforce and give fines to the perpetrators where necessary.
“It will allow us to issue warning/notices and if not followed then they can be fined or even summoned to court. Especially in terms of waste, some people will litter despite being sensitized and warned, but we cannot fine or charge them because we don’t have the law in place yet,” added Mbango.
With regard to street naming he explained they tried to do it but realised there were guidelines that needed to be followed when naming a street. The bylaw to regulate informal traders would enable the council to issue permits to traders specifying the period of trading and allocation of a trading space, as opposed to now where trading is not monitored.
Meanwhile town council’s environmental health officer, Hileni Ndinomuwa highlighted that the draft regulations will be looking at reducing the waste production, volume, negative environmental impacts, promoting environmental health and data collection, among others.
She noted the fact they do not not have facilities at the dumpsite which can assist in collecting data of the waste remains a challenge because the council cannot quantify or determine quantity of waste being dumbed, which means the council is unable to establish the rate at which the dumpsite is being filled.
The bylaws are likely to take six to 12 month before they can be implemented as the consultant will still have to compile a final document that will then be presented to council before it can be forwarded to the ministry which will then hand it to the legislation drafters for fine-tuning.