A study on the status and challenges of the environmental audit process in Kenya
Mwangi, Angeline W
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Environmental degradation as a result of unsustainable use of natural resources is a major issue especially in the developing world. Industries continue to use natural resources for their raw materials and also discharge waste in to the environment. In 1999 EMCA was enacted by parliament as the main environmental authority in Kenya with the aim of streamlining environmental protection activities through coordination of all activities pertaining to the environment. One of the institutions created under this act was the National Environment Management and Management Authority (NEMA). The mandate of NEMA is to coordinate environmental lead agencies, environmental planning, environmental impact assessment, environmental audit, and regulation, enforcement and compliance and education. The Authority is also required to undertake environmental auditing of all activities relating to the environment. The authority requires all establishments listed in its 2nd schedule to submit annual environmental audits by December of every year. These audits are supposed to be carried out by experts registered by NEMA. These reports provide the baseline information since most of these facilities were set up without an Environmental Impact Assessment study. The study was conducted using questionnaires as the principal data collection tool to obtain primary data from the key personnel within the Authority's Compliance and enforcement department and from a sample of lead experts based in Nairobi. Two separate questionnaires were prepared, one for lead experts and the other for the compliance officers. The sampling frame was obtained by picking 50 audit reports pe~ year for 2004, 2005, and 2006. From these, 47 lead experts who had carried out two or more audits were selected from which a sample size of 15 was randomly selected. At the time of study, the authority had 16 compliance officers. Eight were picked for this study through VI snowballing method. The data was analysed using inferential and descriptive statistics which included frequency distribution tables and percentages. This study established that most proponents carry out audits for compliance purposes only, accounting for the large number of audits submitted towards the end of the year so as to beat the December deadline. Also, it was found that more than 80% of the audit capacity in terms of lead experts, Firms of expert and associate experts are based in Nairobi. This has led to cut throat competitions with some experts charging low fee for the audit jobs which at times leads to substandard reports. This study also established the major challenges in the implementation of the auditing practice as lack of awareness on the importance of the process among the proponents and the public, inadequate capacity within the authority in terms of personnel, finances and limited legal mandate. This study recommends that in order to encourage the uptake of the auditing process, a lot of awareness on the importance of auditing needs to be created. The second schedule also needs to be more specific on which facilities should carry out the audits. In addition classification of the experts according to their areas of specialisation would help in ensuring that they only handle projects that fit their qualifications. The inspection and audit review process needs to be decentralised to the provincial and district levels to reduce the number of activities being carried out by the staff at the head office. This report comprises of five chapters. Chapter one is the introduction and background of the study, problem statement, study objectives, literature review, theoretical and conceptual framework, justification of the study, scope and limitations and definition of concepts. Chapter two briefly highlights the study area which is not specific to a particular area but environmental auditing process in Kenya. Thus it includes a brief summary of environmental issues in Kenya, the audit process in Kenya, - vii Environmental Management and Coordination Act and the National Environment and Management act. Chapter three comprises of the research methodology used while chapter four is on the research findings and analysis. Chapter five has conclusions on the study and also recommendations for action in order to improve environmental auditing. There are also recommendations on areas for further or future research. These chapters are followed with other sections including the study's bibliography, and annexes. The annex has the questionnaires used and some of the documents used in this study.