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ELECTION 2022

Stop using Plastics - Election rallies might be the best to set an example for all Kenyans

OPINION
By Surjit Singh Flora | May 8th 2022 | 4 min read

Large number of accumulated plastic waste. [Courtesy]

Plastics are very durable, corrosion-resistant, non-abrasive and inert, so they are less affected by wind, water, etc. As a result, their use has grown exponentially. When they were first used, however, environmentalists were happy that the wood used for furniture, the cardboard / paper used for packing, etc. (which had to be sacrificed to obtain trees) would survive. It was supposed to protect the environment but because plastics have been left unattended in the environment for thousands of years and do not rot, they are becoming a major cause of environmental pollution today.

The plastic material in the soil has a very bad effect on the germination of seeds and growth of micro-organisms by stopping the flow of air and water in the soil. This reduces the fertility of the soil. The plastic waste trapped in the sewerage pipes stops them, which severely affects the drainage system.

One of the reasons why the streets of most cities look like ponds, even during the normal rainy season every year, we got the best example when Brampton neighbourhood where evacuated due to flooding that has damaged dozens of homes in February 2022, because of the constant accumulation of plastic waste in the drainage system.

Many peoples thrown on the piles of garbage, food raps, on the streets Inexperienced hungry animals eat fruit and vegetable peels as well as plastic bags, what an understanding they have. As plastic waste is not digestible, it enters the animals’ body and blocks their intestines, causing the animals to die in agony. That is why there are frequent reports of surgeries performed by doctors to remove several kilograms of plastic waste from the intestines of cows and 2,000 plastic bags found inside a dead Camel in Dubai, March 2021

Not only that, 150 million tons of waste plastic is dumped in the oceans worldwide every year, which is a matter of grave concern. This is why the dead whales that are found on the beach have plastic in their stomachs.

Many people and companies continue to burn the accumulated plastic waste to get rid of it. Burning such plastic waste releases highly toxic and carcinogenic gases called dioxins. There is no doubt that these dioxins are carcinogenic. Not only that, but the plastics also pose imminent dangers to the economy, animal health, soil fertility and human health.

Ironically, plastics have become so ingrained in our lives today that we cannot even imagine a life free of all kinds of plastics. Therefore, it has become a necessity for us to ban disposable plastics. This is why efforts have been made to get rid of 'use and throw away', meaning 'single use plastic', also known as 'disposable plastic'.

At the same time, in order to find an alternative to plastics, where research has been going on for a long time around the globe, various efforts are being made to make the general public aware about the dangers of plastics. Kenya government need to start teaching about this in schools, colleges, universities and other educational institutions after all it’s our next generation those going to effect the most and face huge challenge in the future,

UN Environment Assembly in Nairobi goal is to end plastic pollution, and forge an international legally binding agreement, by the end of 2024

Canada is working towards the goal of 'Zero Plastic Waste' by 2030. Canada wants to list plastics as toxic under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. Canada plans to get rid of such toxins by the end of 2022.

England is also preparing to ban all these products. The ban on such plastic products may seem good and desirable at first glance, but a closer look reveals that it is the only one being manufactured and widely used by large consumer big companies. Many used plastic products are not being banned. Similarly, the plastic used for packing, which constitutes 60% of plastic waste, is also excluded from the list, although such plastic is thrown in the trash immediately after opening the packing.

So, there is a need to rationalise the ban on the use of single use plastics. Lawmakers and all other leaders must first stop using these items at their events and election rallies as Kenya up coming election in Aug and send the appropriate message and see where the ban goes. Governments should replace these items with recyclable products that are biodegradable, such as paper straws and plant-made food containers. There is no shortage of innovations and minds in Kenya. All that is lacking is government encouragement and good intentions. There is an urgent need to improve this aspect so that this campaign can get public support and at the same time human health and our planet can escape from this plastic trap.

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