Kenya a Pioneer in Ending Plastic Pollution in Africa
The Heinrich Böll Stiftung (hbs) has unveiled a campaign that aims at fostering dialogue to end plastic pollution in the country as stakeholders call on the government to put up stringent measures to end plastic pollution in the country.
UNEA Nairobi Office Director, Joachim Paul, said, “Plastic production and pollution requires concerted efforts from everyone because the impact of this crisis is putting pressure on the planet which is linked to the climate change and food crisis that we are currently experiencing.”
Adding that plastic pollution is a problem which cannot be ignored anymore and needs concerted efforts from all the stakeholders to find a lasting solution to end the problem.
According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) over 400 million tons of plastic are produced each year, with half of that amount used to create single-use items such as shopping bags, cups and straws.
At least 14 million tons of plastic end up in the ocean every year. Plastic debris is now the most abundant type of litter in the ocean, accounting for 80% of all marine debris discovered from surface waters to deep-sea sediments.
In Nairobi for instance, it is estimated that 2,400 tons of solid waste are generated every day, 20% of that being plastic forms, mostly single-use plastics like straws, bottles and packaged consumer goods.
Programme Coordinator, Sustainable Development at hbs, Fredrick Njau urged policy-makers not to allow the country to be used as a dumping ground for plastic waste by developed nations through trade agreements.
“400 million tonnes of plastic is produced annually and only less than 10 percent is recycled. Plastics take over 400 years to degrade which is dangerous to the environment, humans and animals,” said Njau.
Speaking at the same forum which was held at Baraza Media Lab, Amos Wemanya, Power Shift Africa’s Senior Advisor on Just Energy Transition, stated that Kenya lacks the infrastructure to manage both biodegradable and non-degradable waste and there is a need to protect developing countries through the global regulatory framework to ensure no plastic waste is dumped in the country.
According to Wemanya, it is time for companies that depend on plastic to consider alternatives in readiness for a plastic treaty in 2024. With only, two years for the resolution to be tabled, Wemanya said, Kenya has an opportunity to demonstrate leadership by going a further step and ridding the country of single-use plastic such as PETs. Ends.