An assessment of environmental management in the export processing zones, Kenya, A case study of some selected enterprises
This research sought to carry out an assessment of environmental management within the Export Processing Zones (EPZs) in Kenya, using some enterprises as a case study. The specific objectives were to investigate whether the enterprises are aware of the requirements of good environmental management, if Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and initial Environmental Audit (EA) were carried out, whether the enterprises implement the recommendations of the EIA/EA reports and the factors influencing the levels of compliance to these recommendations. Other objectives were to investigate whether the enterprises continue to carry out annual self audits, whether the companies have an environmental management plan (EMP) and whether the enterprises adequately address requirements of occupational safety and Health (OSH). The enterprises under study were categorized by type or sector within the various branches of industry to enable meaningful evaluation of observations made. Data was collected from primary sources using a structured questionnaire. Respondents constituted operations managers from 55 enterprises working in the garment and textiles, agricultural produce and chemical sectors within the EPZ. Corroborative information was collected during visits to the enterprises where various staff were interviewed. Secondary data was collected from records on statistical returns and Environmental audit reports. The data collected was then analyzed and findings tabulated and also presented in graphs, pie and bar charts. Data was tested using the chi – square statistical technique. Upon testing of data, the calculated X2 was 9.11 for EIA, 7.11 for self audits and 15.19 for EMP and OSH combined , all against a critical X2 of 5.99147. The findings indicate that out of a total number of 55 enterprises, only 38.46 % had carried out an EIA at the commencement of their project, 24.35 % continued to carry out annual self audits, while 21.79 % had a proper Environmental Management plan in place and a mere 15.38 % had adequately taken care of the requirements of occupational safety and health for their workers and customers. These four aspects were considered to be quite representative of the status of environmental management within the enterprises in the EPZs. From the data analysis, there was sufficient evidence to lead to a rejection of the null hypothesis and acceptance of the alternative hypothesis that EPZ enterprises were not sufficiently aware of the requirements of good environmental management and neither were they complying with the recommendations of the EIA and EA to adequate levels. The findings on the overall performance of the enterprises in environmental management with reference to the fours aspects which were used as a basis for this study show that although there was a relatively high level of awareness, there was no commensurate high level of compliance and enforcement. Low percentage scores in each aspect was an indication of a poor or undesirable position in most of the enterprises. This could be attributed to various challenges observed to be hindrances to achieving compliance. Among these were, the incidence of companies carrying out EIA merely to meet the legal requirement but not enforcing the recommendations, issue of priorities where proprietors focused on profits and not good environmental management, lack of finance for implementation, and lack of action on the part of enforcers. Enterprises which negatively impacted the environment continued to do so as there were no immediate consequences to non compliance From the findings, it is recommended that investors should be made to make adequate budgetary provision for environmental management and build capacity by way of environmental education and training so as to achieve change of attitude and input by all. It is also recommended that the polluter pays principle be applied strictly to make poor environmental management a cost to the enterprises. Regulators like EPZA should be legally empowered to have a level of enforcement authority over entities operating under them to enable them carry out more regular and stringent enforcement. Supervisors should ensure strict and timely response to issues raised in instances of non-compliance. Government should recognize and reward good environmental management. Policy formulators should make processes easier and faster as bureaucracy gets in the way of better environmental management. Finally scholars should incorporate environmental education at primary level of education to make good environmental management part of the population’s norms and practices.