Devolution of Public Health exposed Kenyans to environmental and health hazards

The Devolution of public health department has compromised environmental and health standards as the officers were no longer enforcing the law for fear of contradicting their bosses, Siaya County Service Delivery Coordination committee heard on Thursday.

Members who attended the meeting chaired by Siaya County Commissioner (CC), Jacob Narengo at the Probation hostels hall lamented that public health officers who now fall under the County governments had abdicated their responsibility of ensuring that markets and other public facilities were clean.

The Rarieda Deputy County Commissioner (DCC), Joseph Onyango said that the officers were no longer invoking the public health act that mandates them to close down markets and other dirty places and haul the responsible officers before courts for failure to improve health standards in their premises.

As employees of the County governments, they cannot order closure of the markets from where taxes for their pay is collected, he said, adding that they could not also prosecute their bosses at the County governments for failure to improve the premises.

The members said the plastic bag menace was slowly rearing its head again despite the ban outlawing use of the same.

The National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), County Director, Leonard Ofula said the war against plastic bag menace was being frustrated by a few unscrupulous traders who import the same from Uganda.

Some have been importing liquor packed in sachets which, after consumption, are littered everywhere he said.

Ofula said his office, in conjunction with the police, has conducted several crackdowns on those suspected to be behind the importation and trade in plastics.

He however, warned the public to be wary of people masquerading as NEMA officials, adding that through the efforts of the police, they have nabbed members of a syndicate that have been going round fleecing the public while posing as environment officials.

Narengo called on the County residents to join hands in ensuring clean and sustainable environment, saying the war against plastics needed a combined efforts.

The CC further urged the residents to plant more trees during the rainy season, noting that the tree cover in the County was far below the required standards.We must ensure that we achieve the minimum ten percent forest cover, he said and told the residents to take advantage of the current rains.

Source: Kenya News Agency