Benard Gitau @benagitau
Green Belt Movement has urged Kenyans to stop littering the environment using single-use plastic bags and pet bottles.
Speaking during the World Environment Day celebrations at Lavington High School in Nairobi on Tuesday, chairperson Marion Kamau urged Kenyans to rethink their behavior and take personal initiative to fight plastic pollution.
“It should not be business as usual because plastics apart from polluting the environment contribute to a high number of cancer cases in the country and therefore we must tackle the monster,” she said.
Kenya ’s major towns are choking on plastic paper bags and bottles. Kamau said poor waste management systems also play an enormous role in plastic pollution.
Kenya has been termed by a UN Environment report released during the World Environment Day on Tuesday as among the leader in fighting plastic pollution after it imposed a ban on plastic carrier bags in August last year.
According to Kenya’s new environment Ac, offenders face a fine of up to Sh4 million or four-year jail term, making the country’s plastic bags ban penalty the most severe in the world.
Prior to 2017, about 100 million plastic bags were used in Kenya every year in supermarkets alone, causing a negative impact on human health and wildlife especially in areas where waste management systems are inadequate.
In Western Kenya, veterinarians claimed that in their lifetime cows ingest an average of 2.5 plastics. According to the UN report, the world consumes five trillion single-use plastics, which if tied together, could be wrapped around the world seven times every hour.
Head of UN Environment Erik Solheim said the quantity is equivalent to almost 10 million plastic bags per minute annually.
He spoke during the launch of a report ‘Single-use plastics; A roadmap for sustainability’ in India during the World Environment Day. “Plastic isn’t the problem. It’s what we do with it. And that means the onus is on us to be far smarter in how we use this miracle material,” he said.
Solheim said the total economic damage to the world’s marine ecosystem caused by plastic amounts to at least Sh1.3 trillion every year.