Have you ever gone to the super market/kiosk and you shopping is packed in 3 to 4 paper bags because of the likelihood that the one paper bag might tear off even before reaching at home. The plastic bottles, plastic bags have you ever asked yourself where they go after the trash truck collects it ? Yeah, it is none of your business after all you have already paid the waste guys.
Earlier this year (2017), march we had about the ban, use and importation of all the plastics bags in Kenya. Did you know that this was not the 1st time. In the year 2007 there was a similar plastic ban. In 2007 the ban was focused on manufacture and import of bags of up to 0.03 millimeters (30 microns) , which failed terribly. Also in 2011 a similar ban was issued, its focus was on 0.06 millimeters.
So is the 2017 plastic ban move promising? Yes it is .But will it solve the waste crisis…..?
This plastic ban announcement comes just three weeks after the UN declared a “war on plastic” through its new Clean Seas initiative, which has already secured commitments to address major plastic pollution from 10 governments. Kenya is the 11th country to take action in support of the UN Environment campaign.
For years now, Kenyans have been crying for a permanent solution to the unpleasant stain that plastics have brought onto the city bringing about the growing ugliness to the nation’s capital, providing breeding grounds for pests and continued blockage to sewerage systems.
Other reason why this time round the ban is promising is because, on the global map Kenya environmental image has been tarnished despite it being the host of United Nation Environmental Program and Kenya being the home to Late Prof Wangari Maathai. In the Environmental Performance Index (EPI) 2016 , Kenya is ranked as number 123 out of 180. The Environmental Performance Index (EPI) ranks countries’ performance on high-priority environmental issues in two areas: protection of human health and protection of ecosystems. EPI indicators measure country proximity to meeting internationally established targets or, in the absence of agreed targets, how nations compare to one another. Neighboring countries have banned plastic.
Now that we are ‘’sure” that the ban will take place, will it solve the waste crisis? It is a question that even those in authority can’t answer.
When you look at it holistically, the waste challenge in not only in the production but also on the waste management and consumer behaviors. For us to solve the waste menace, we have also to address the consumer behaviors and the waste management. How do we address consumer behaviors ?