Waste Management and Pollution Control
The EAC Partner States recognize that development activities may have negative impacts on the environment leading to the degradation of the environment and depletion of natural resources and that a clean and healthy environment is a prerequisite for sustainable development (Article 111 of the EAC Treaty).
Partner States have therefore agreed to cooperate in the Prevention of Illegal Trade in and Movement of Toxic Chemicals, Substances and Hazardous Wastes (Art. 113) and have agreed to harmonise their legal and regulatory framework for the management, movement, utilization and disposal of toxic substances. The EAC Partner States undertake to ensure sound environmental and natural resources management principles for the proper functioning of the Common Market, through prevention of activities that are detrimental to the environment (Article 40 of the Common Market Protocol).
Areas of focus are on management of chemicals, waste and hazardous waste with following priority areas:
- Harmonization of pollution and waste management policies, laws and strategies
- Harmonization of the national laws, policies and strategies on toxic chemicals and products (substances) containing toxic chemicals level
- Development/review of policy, laws, regulations and guidelines on for handling of highly obsolete chemical /hazardous waste (meet environmental sound management of chemicals)
- Development of mechanism of handling and disposal of electronic waste
- Joint measures (inspection, enforcement) to control the illegal trafficking of chemicals proved scientifically to be hazardous toxic or persistent in the environment
- Support review of minimal regional of standard of plastic packaging
In 2017, the EAC passed its landmark EAC Polythene Materials Control Bill, 2016 which set out a series of restrictions and controls upon the continued introduction of polythene material into the region. The Bill provides a legal framework for the preservation of a clean and healthy environment through the prohibition of manufacturing, sale, importation and use of polythene materials
In so doing, the EAC has attempted to remove polythene usage from competition within and between its Partner States and, for this, the EAC has received international attention as a possible model for other regions looking for effective environmental and commercial plastics solutions.