Kenya launches campaign to clean up plastics

NAIROBI. – Kenya yesterday launched a campaign towards eradicating plastic wrapping materials from the environment. Judi Wakhungu, the Cabinet Secretary for Environment, said that the clean-up exercise against Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) is in line with the government’s commitment to manage solid waste in the country.

“Plastic related products are a common environmental menace and needs to be removed from the environment,” Wakhungu said at the launch that was attended by officials from the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM).

She noted that after banning the polythene bags five months ago, the government is also beginning to address pollution caused by PET bottles. “Kenya is committed to honour global efforts towards the prevention, mitigation and management of air, water, soil and oceans pollution,” she noted.

PET polyester is used for packaging foods and beverages, personal care products and other consumer products. They are highly favoured due to its desirable properties and its use has increased significantly in the last few years. In Kenya PET is primarily used to package soft drinks, milk and drinking water.

Just like other plastics materials, PET has been associated with pollution of the environment due to its non-bio degradable nature especially when littered indiscriminately on land and in water bodies.

Wakhungu said that the ban on the use of disposable bottles in Karura forest in the outskirts of Nairobi and the National Reserves and Game Parks has been successful in helping conserving and protecting animals and nature within the ecosystem.

“We are proud of this achievement and we will continue consulting regional and international stakeholders in environment pollution management,” she noted.

According to government statistics, there are a total of 176 plastics manufacturing companies in Kenya in 2016.

The plastics industry in Kenya generated a turnover of $10 million and employed over 60,000 people.

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