Assessment of the effectiveness of the regulatory regime in controlling the effects of oil pollution on Kenya's coastal and marine environment.
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AuthorOhowa, Boaz Ogola
MetadataShow full item record
AbstractThe Kenya coast is part of the major tanker route that stretches along the East African coast, running from the Middle East round the Hom of Africa to other parts of the world. The major Kenyan port, Mombasa, handles a substantial number of ocean-going ships (including oil tankers) and other smaller vessels, in addition to having other installations that deal with oil such as refineries and power generators. This raises the prospect of chronic oil pollution in the coastal and marine environment, which could have negative impacts on the natural resources thereof. The paper presents an assessment of the effectiveness of the regulatory regime in the management of marine oil pollution. It provides an overview of the natural resources, and their susceptibility to oil pollution. They include mangrove communities, coral reefs, seagrass communities, fisheries, sandy substrates and the water column, with special emphasis on the surface microlayer of the latter given its high propensity to accumulate the hydrophobic petroleum hydrocarbon pollutants. An overview of Kenya's policies/legislation, together with regional and international agreements, treaties and protocols relating to marine oil pollution management is also presented. Some of the most commonly used indicators of effectiveness in oil pollution management are reviewed. They include surveys of beached oiled birds, monitoring of stranded tar balls along beaches, aerial surveillance and space-borne remote sensing. A comparative analysis of some effective environmental regimes is provided, having specific regard to marine oil pollution. The problem of chronic oil pollution in Kenya's coastal and marine environment is assessed from the viewpoint of the potential sources in terms of its magnitude. The capacity of Kenyan institutions with regard to marine oil pollution management is also analysed. From the reviews and analyses, it emerges that although Kenya could be having the right policies and regulations in place to deal with the management of marine oil pollution, the complete set of instruments by which policy effectiveness can be evaluated seems to be lacking. Instruments can be defined strictly as the resources that can be used by or through the government to attain policy objectives. These include staff, administrative structures, financial means, training and awareness raising. In light of this, the paper ultimately distils some key recommendations that Kenya could adopt in an effort to enhance the effectiveness of the existing marine oil pollution regulatory regime. Thus the use of tar ball monitoring (quantitative measurement of stranded beach tar) as a relatively cost-effective indicator of the state of the coastal marine environment with regard to petroleum pollution is recommended. Other recommendations are conducting educational campaigns to vessel operators on the meaning and consequences of oil spills, and the prospect of using satellite data subject to the availability of some of the instruments such as financial means and training.
Publisher or UniversityDalhousie University