KENYA – The National Environmental Management Authority of Kenya (NEMA) has announced a ban on using plastic bags to collect and dispose of garbage.

According to NEMA’s directive, traditional plastic bags and bin liners must cease to be used for organic waste collection within the stipulated 90-day period.

Instead, all garbage must be carried in biodegradable garbage bags. Additionally, NEMA has instructed all county governments and private waste service providers licensed by NEMA to supply their clients with 100% biodegradable bags.

This directive aligns with Section 12 of the Sustainable Waste Management Act, 2022, which mandates the segregation of non-hazardous waste into organic and non-organic fractions.

It requires proper labeling and color-coding of receptacles, bins, containers, and bags for segregated waste, as well as the collection, handling, and transportation of segregated waste by waste service providers.

This latest ban builds upon Kenya’s previous efforts in environmental conservation, notably the 2017 ban on manufacturing, importing, and using plastic carrier bags for commercial and household packaging, spearheaded by the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources.

Greenpeace Africa praised the announcement and commended the government’s actions while advocating for clarity and strengthened infrastructure.

The organization emphasized the importance of Kenya moving towards a zero-waste and plastic-free future, prioritizing reusable models and ensuring that biodegradable alternatives contribute genuinely to a circular economy.

“While we applaud the Government of Kenya for its decisive actions, beginning with the 2017 ban on plastic carrier bags and now with the mandatory us will gather from April 23 to 29, 2024, to draft a binding plastics transaction, we call for greater ambition in moving towards a zero-waste and plastic-free future,” said the organization in a statement.

“Kenya should prioritise reusable models and ensure that any biodegradable alternatives are safe and genuinely contribute to a circular economy. It should also continue to be a continental leader in combating the plastic crisis.”

NEMA’s decision coincides with the fourth round of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC4) meeting in Ottawa, Canada, where world leaders gather to draft a binding plastics treaty from April 23 to 29, 2024.

Greenpeace Africa calls for a treaty that focuses on reducing plastic production and embraces solutions like refill and reuse systems to minimize the use and production of single-use plastics.

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