You will be fined Sh5,000 or jailed for six months or both if found littering or illegally dumping garbage on the busy Nakuru-Nairobi highway.
The Nakuru County government has now placed travellers and motorists on notice, as it steps up a crackdown on passengers who litter the motorway.
Environment authorities in the devolved unit said county enforcement officers will monitor the highway from Mau Summit to Fly Over, past Naivasha, and will arrest and charge culprits.
The local government has warned travellers, particularly those on long-distance journeys, against littering highways with single-use plastics, arguing that they are dangerous to the environment.
“I want to issue a stern warning to travellers along the Nakuru-Nairobi-Eldoret highway that it will not be business as usual,” said Environment, Energy, Natural Resources and Climate Change Chief Officer Muriithi Kiogora.
“Those fond of littering the highway while travelling must stop the habit as they are flirting with jail terms and heavy fines. You will not be spared as you are a threat to the environment.”
Private motorists are the leading contributors to environmental pollution along the highway, he said.
“We shall be arresting offenders and making sure they are charged in court,” added.
“A majority of individuals discarding single-use plastic waste along our highways are literate people who understand well the impact of environmental pollution, most of them being private motorists.”
Enforcement officers, some in plain clothes, will conduct impromptu highway inspections and those found littering will be charged under the provisions of the Nakuru County Waste Management Act 2021 and other relevant laws.
That Act was signed into law by former governor Lee Kinyanjui a year ago.
The law created legal frameworks for public-private partnerships and allowed access to funds set aside for effective waste management.
The law outlined penalties to be imposed on those polluting the environment.
Mr Kiogora spoke during a two-day anti-littering and clean-up campaign carried out by the county government.
It involves cleaning up littered highways and educating road users on the importance of proper waste disposal.
The stretch between St Mary’s Hospital and Gilgil is the most affected by littering. Others include the sections between Mbaruk and Nakuru city and Weighbridge in Naivasha.
Single-use plastics that litter the highway include food packaging materials, grocery bags, bottles, straws, containers, cups and cutlery.
Records from the department of environment indicate that the county government spends hundreds of thousands of shillings every three months on cleaning up the highway and other busy roads.
“It has been costly to the county government, often forcing the department to spend beyond its budget,” an official told the Nation.
The highway that runs from Mombasa to Uganda is busy and litter piles up within a short period, Mr Kiogora said.
“Nakuru has a delicate ecosystem because it is home to a large population of wild animals and it hosts world-renowned lakes like Elementaita and Nakuru, which are not far from the highway,” he said.
“At least 30 to 40 tonnes of single-use plastic containers find their way into Lake Nakuru and eventually into the renowned Lake Nakuru National Park every rainy season, posing danger to the wildlife.”
Plastic waste also endangers the rivers Njoro, Ndarugu, Ngosur and Molo.
To curb littering on the highway, the county environment department is working to bring on board all stakeholders, including the police, the environment watchdog Nema and the National Transport and Safety Authority to find a permanent solution.
“We want to ensure that all road users are responsible for their waste and they will only dispose of it at designated places,” Mr Kiogora said.
The county wants to enforce waste management laws passed by the county assembly years ago but have not been implemented.