Kenya marks World Environment Day with call to end plastic pollution


Kenya on Tuesday marked the World Environment Day with a call for renewed commitment by the government, industry and conservation groups to eradicate plastic waste choking ecosystems like freshwater bodies.

Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Forestry, Keriako Tobiko, said that Kenya was on course to contain pollution linked to poor disposal of plastics, thanks to punitive legislation, public awareness and investments in recycling projects.

“Poor disposal of plastics is poisoning natural wonders like coral reefs and marine wildlife.

“We must, therefore, come together and explore sustainable alternatives to reduce production and excessive use of single-use plastics which is a threat to environment and human health,” Tobiko said in an article published in local dailies.

According to him, Kenya is expected to produce 33 billion tonnes of plastic by the year 2050 while a bulk of that quantity will end up in oceans.

He noted that Kenya’s landmark decision to ban production and use of plastic carrier bags in August, 2017 has reduced pollution of critical ecosystems while improving human health.

Charles Sunkuli, Principal Secretary in the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, said that Kenya had won accolades globally for enforcing plastic ban that had revitalised the country’s green agenda.

“Since the implementation of the ban on plastics bags began in August 2017, the country has witnessed great improvement in general cleanliness, aesthetic natural beauty of landscapes and decreased cases of clogging storm water drains,” Sunkuli said.

He stressed that public education coupled with investments in appropriate technologies were key to promoting recycling of plastic waste and generate green jobs for the youth.

Kenya has domesticated global best practices to enhance management of plastic waste that has soared amid rapid industrialisation.

Geoffrey Wahungu, Director-General of National Environment Management Authority, said they had fast-tracked implementation of a global action plan to reduce plastic waste through enactment of new laws, recycling and consumer awareness.