JKUAT Trains on Environmental Assessment to Prevent Degradation

Prof. Thuku Thiong’o presents a certificate of completion to Brenda Chepkorir, next to him is Director IEET Prof. Ngugi Kamau and Project Lead Expert Ms Purity Njeru

The impact assessment of any project on the environment is a critical starting point prior to development because it ensures environmental sustainability and informs decision-makers.

To that end, the Institute of Energy and Environmental Technology (IEET) at JKUAT (JKUAT) has been offering the ESIA/EA short course with the 2022 edition culminating on September 30th after a two-week training.

The course included coursework and a practical field study which entailed two projects. The first was an Environmental Audit of the JKUAT raw water treatment plant to assess its effectiveness in meeting environmental and societal requirements, while the second was an Environmental Social Impact Assessment (ESIA) of the proposed construction of a JKUAT plastic waste recycling plant.

An aerial view of the JKUAT Water Treatment Plant

During the training, the students learned how to mitigate pollution and provide for hazardous and toxic wastes ensuring that there will be minimal waste from the development by adhering to dumping in licensed and designated dumping sites.

At the closing ceremony, Prof. Thuku Thiong’o, Principal of the College of Pure and Applied Sciences (COPAS), commended the participants for taking the course in light of the challenges the country is facing as a result of a lack of ethics and due diligence, as evidenced by collapsing buildings, riparian constructions, and sanctioned demolitions.

“In addition to the routine assessment, it is important to factor in aspects such as the physics, chemistry, and microbiology of soil so as to protect the important microorganisms which are vital to the ecosystem,” said Prof. Thiong’o who also noted the importance of mental health during the occupational health assessment.

Mellese Yimam, Chief Structural Engineer from Ethiopia makes his presentation during the closing ceremony

Based on the fieldwork, and the guidance of IEET lead experts Ms. Purity Njeru and Mr. Peter Waithaka, the participants prepared both the ESIA and EA reports which are fundamental requirements for any industrial venture or any other development before implementation to ensure conformity with the various laws related to the environment.

The aim of the ESIA is to identify the potential positive and negative impacts the project has on the environment and the site’s physical and biological resources in order to minimize any unforeseen adverse impacts during the project cycle. It also provides baseline information to assist in conducting Environmental Audits (EA).

The ESIA/EA full-time course attracted thirteen participants (6 Females and 7 Males) from Kenya and Ethiopia. It featured professionals from various fields ranging from building sciences to Public Health, among others.

Participants display their certificates awarded during the closing ceremony

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