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Regulate disposal of plastic bottles, Nema told

Benard Gitau @benagitau

An environmental activist has urged the National Environment Management Authority (Nema) to either regulate or ban use of plastic bottles to package beverages.

James Wakibia told the People Daily yesterday that the plastic bottles menace is threatening to roll back gains registered after plastic carrier bags ban last August. He said if disposal of plastic bottles is not checked , it will suffocate rivers, lakes, and oceans. According to the Ministry of Environment data, more than 50 million plastic bottles are disposed off annually into the environment.

“We have to extend the ban to the plastic bottles because they clog our drainage system and affecting marine life,” he said. He said beverage manufacturing companies should be taxed more and the money used for environmental cleanup or they should be forced to clean up their mess.

At Lake Nakuru National Park, which is a Unesco World Heritage Site, plastic bottles menace, is evident with heaps of dirt swept in by flooding water or through inlet rivers. Last year, Environment Cabinet secretary Judi Wakhungu banned disposal of plastic bottles in Nairobi National Park and Karura Forest.

Visitors are, however, allowed to carry their heavy-duty reusable plastic bottles. Wakhungu said the prohibition would be extended to all other protected areas and forest reserves in due course to rid them of plastics.

Wakibia said disposal of plastic items such as spoons, cups, plates, and straws should be banned to safeguard the environment. Kenya imposed the ban on manufacture, importation, and use of plastic carrier bags on August 28, 2017.

The law, which is termed as the toughest in the world, stipulates that those who violate the ban face Sh 4 million fine or four years in jail. Banned plastic bags fall into two categories — carrier bags and flat bags.

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