Environment stakeholders have called for solutions to plastic pollution. Speaking during celebrations to mark World Environment Day in Nakuru, they said while Kenya remains crucial in global efforts to ban plastics, challenges still exist.
“Seven years down the line and having also banned all forms of plastics in our gazetted areas, Kenya is still grappling with plastic pollution from other forms of plastics as well as influx of illegal plastics still finding their way into the country,” said NEMA Director General Mamo B Mamo said.
He said while the government has put in place a legal framework to end plastic pollution, challenges in implementation exist.
"Despite the legislation, our cities and towns still lie in waste. We need to find solutions. We need a systemic change to reverse these trends, shift gears and end plastic pollution," he said.
He called for partnerships between state and non-state actors to champion zero waste and build a circular economy.
"Let us have all hands on deck and beat the plastic pollution menace," he added.
Environment, Forestry and Climate Change Cabinet Secretary Soipan Tuya said the celebration of the event provided a platform for showcasing local solutions while creating awareness and elevating the environment agenda.
She said it is worrying that while single-use plastic bags were banned in 2017, they are still being used.
“It is a smack in the face that after many years of banning the single-use plastics, Kenya as a global leader in environmental conservation, we still have single-use plastics which are illegal,” he said.
According to David Ombisi, a representative from the United Nations Environment Programme, Kenya plays a crucial role in the global deal to end plastics following the historic resolution by UN member states to end plastic pollution.
The deal was sealed in Nairobi, where member states forged an international legally binding agreement to end plastic pollution by 2024.
“Kenya is critical in this race to end plastic pollution. It is Kenya where this deal was sealed. With Kenya being one of the countries that have taken action, more so to ban the use of single-use plastic bags, Kenya’s role remains critical in championing solutions to this planetary crisis,” Ombisi said.
Nakuru Governor Susan Kihika said Nakuru City generates about 700 tons of solid waste annually, of which 20 per cent is plastic, and most are not lucrative for recycling and upcycling, thus ending up as a menace.
“Single-use plastics clog our storm-water drains causing flooding in case of heavy downpours, degrading our environment, choking our wildlife, and resulting in human health issues,” she said.
She said the county has put in place legal frameworks such as Nakuru County Waste Management Policy and the Nakuru County Waste Management Act 2021.