Use of toxic plastic can be reduced with awareness
All over the world, plastics are extremely dangerous for the environment.
Hence, there has been a demand to limit its use and ban various types of plastics.
Similar demands have been made in Kenya, and the government has issued strict instructions from time to time.
But there has always been a lack of rigor in the application of these guidelines. This is why, despite millions of efforts, there has been no success in reducing the use of plastics.
Kenya has also banned all single-use plastics such as water bottles and straws from its national parks, beaches, forests and other protected areas.
Because of the pandemic, we have all witnessed with our own eyes what happens when we destroy the earth; that is, we eliminate the systems that support human life.
Plastic bottles, bottle caps, food wraps, bags, straws and lids are all disposable and then thrown away. Kenya is battling the scourge of plastic pollution, which is suffocating sea turtles, livestock and birds and destroying the landscape.
More than 20 states and union territories have similar rules on banned plastics. Use continues unabated.
If the use of banned plastics does not decrease, it simply means that the attitude of relevant departments towards their production, sale and use is extremely irresponsible and negligent.
It is often found that due to our small and large negligence and deficiencies in the waste management systems, polyethylene or other plastic waste is filled in the drains, which clogs the pipes, drainage and the drainage system. sewers.
This waste now clogs the flow of rivers, which now plays a significant role in creating flood conditions in places with somewhat higher rainfall.
Like many countries, Kenya has a long history of wrestling with plastic waste, which is strewn along the Indian Ocean coast and often appears in lakes.
In Mombasa, the second largest city in the country with around 2 million inhabitants, 3.7 kg of plastic per person seep into water bodies every year.
Plastics were the cause of the catastrophic floods in Bangladesh in 1988 and 1998, as plastics accumulated in drains or gutters causing clogging of drains etc.
The use of plastic bags in Ireland has been taxed at 90%, leading to a drastic reduction in their use. In Australia, where the use of these bags has dropped by 90% following a government appeal, Rwanda, a country on the African continent, is proposing fines for the manufacture, purchase and use of plastic bags.
France launched a campaign to ban plastics in 2002, and in 2010 it was fully implemented across the country.
Non-recyclable plastics are banned in New York. China, Malaysia, Vietnam, Canada, Thailand, Italy and other countries have imposed various restrictions on the import of plastic waste. China is the world’s largest importer of plastic waste, but it also recently banned the import of 24 categories of solid waste.
Similar stringent measures need to be taken in Kenya in a roundabout way to ban plastics altogether. However, due to some loopholes in these rules, the import of plastic waste into the country is still exempted and taking advantage of this, empty plastic bottles are imported as acceptable waste.
Worryingly, about half of the plastic waste that goes out every day ends up either in rivers through sewers or on untreated land, polluting the land and air.
Pollution control councils operate in all states and union territories across the country, but to know how serious they are in their work will require the Kenyan government to be a little tougher on its citizens. to reach the 2030 target.
In addition, the Kenyan government must create awareness to reduce the use of plastics by posting banners, TV and newspaper advertisements – billboards on highways and shopping malls, so that any Kenyan after using the plastic bottle – the dump where he wants, see these advertisements and avoid throwing them away, as well as throwing them where they belong too.
Surjit Singh Flora is a seasoned journalist and freelance writer based in Canada.