refile-feature-kenya seeks to cure plastic bag addiction with blanket ban
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May 2, NAKURU, Moraa Obiria, Kenya (
Thomson Reuters Foundation-
Gioto, Kenya\'s largest dump in kukulu County, saw a massive spill of plastic waste, a thorn in the eye that made photographer James Wakibia an environmental activist.
Knowing that plastic is a national problem, he decided to go beyond his hometown of Nakuru and seek a way to attract the attention of governments and consumers in urban and rural communities across the country.
In 2015, Wakibia launched a social media campaign using the Twitter label banplasticsKE, calling for a ban on plastic bags.
A few months later, after Kenya\'s Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Natural Resources, Judy wakurungu, responded to her support on Twitter, he changed the label to isupportbanasticske.
Wakibia will walk up the streets of Nakuru, take pictures with placards printed with hashtag, and post the pictures on Facebook and Twitter.
His efforts were not in vain.
On February, a bulletin of Wakhungu announced that the use, manufacture and import of plastic bags for family and commercial packaging in Kenya will cease from August 28.
\"I\'m excited that my efforts have produced this-
\"This is what I have been longing for,\" said Wakibia . \".
\"Plastic bags are a threat.
\"This is the fourth time the Kenyan government has tried to destroy plastic bags.
In 2005 and 2007, it prohibits plastic bags with a thickness of 30 microns, and in 2011 it also prohibits 60-
Micron plastic bags, including all plastic bags that are considered light enough to be blown away by the wind.
But so far, these measures have failed.
Shoppers across Kenya are still addicted to plastic bags, which are placed in supermarkets with fruits and vegetables, cosmetics and toiletries --
It\'s already wrapped in other plastic bags.
Can also be purchased or opened separately from retail stores-
5 ($0. 05)
, 10 or 20 Kenyan shillings, for personal use according to their size.
Geoffrey Wahungu, director of the national environmental authority, said there would be no exceptions this time (NEMA)
A national agency that provides advice on environmental issues and implements relevant laws and policies.
He said the previous bans were tough because they were limited according to the specific thickness of the bag.
He explained that only primary packaging is allowed now, which means packaging is carried out at the source of plastic contact with the product, and is considered important for health reasons.
Anyone in the supply chain who violates the Gazette announcement will be punished one-on-one.
According to the 4 million Environmental Management Act, he will be sentenced to imprisonment of between 2 and 2015 shillings.
He noted that manufacturers, suppliers and importers must clean up their inventory by the end of August and adopt biodegradable alternatives.
Wahungu acknowledged that it may be difficult to control the manufacturing sector of unlicensed domestic operators, but as import bans cut off their supply of raw materials, they may find it difficult to continue.
At the same time, the Association encourages the use of innovative packaging schemes for Kenma, water gourd and papyrus reed.
Through the media, the county government, religious leaders, community leaders and residents\' associations, efforts were made to raise public awareness before the ban.
Manufacturers have warned that the government is also introducing economic incentives to deal with potential unemployment threats, including supporting recycling plans.
The agency is increasing the sensitivity of the justice sector to ensure the smooth implementation of the ban, Wahungu said.
It aims to reduce plastic imports by working more closely with Kenya tax authority, Kenya Port Authority and Kenya Bureau of Standards.
In addition, the East African community group is working to control the use of plastics throughout the region, and it is expected that a relevant bill will be proposed for discussion in Arusha --
The East African Legislative Assembly, headquartered in May.
Wahungu said plastic accounts for about 8% of the total waste released into the Kenyan environment, but it can cause about 90% of pollution and suffocate land and marine ecosystems.
Gilbert aubeyer, dean of the school of environment and resource development at Njoro Egerton University, said plastic waste can be seen everywhere.
\"Plastic hanging on a tree in town --
There is plastic in the air when there is wind.
The sea, lakes, rivers and wells are all blocked by plastic.
They didn\'t add any value to the ecosystem, \"he said.
For him, the ban will be the catalyst for the invention of new packaging
Kenyans soon had no choice but to accept it.
\"Once people know that there is no plastic, they will come up with something eco-friendly and maybe even cheaper,\" he said . \".
But not all Kenyans are ready for the transition.
Sammy mwangji, a commercial motorcycle operator located in the 58 th district of the Nakuru suburb, is upset about how the ban will affect employees in plastic manufacturing.
\"They will lose their jobs, where do the government expect them to go? ” he said.
Mokaya Nyarenchi is also worried that he peeled pineapple in plastic bags in Nakuru\'s central business district.
\"Fashion packaging will put traders like me who sell fruit in small portions at a disadvantage,\" he said . \".
But for Albert Moses, a computer technician in the town of El Doret in the South rift, it is time for Kenya to stop plastic pollution.
\"It\'s just that people change their attitudes and embrace a clean environment,\" he said . \". ($1 = 103.
0000 Kenyan shillings)(
Reports from Moraa Obiria;
Edited by Megan Rowling.
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