KENYA – Leonard Ofula, the Director of the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) in Kisumu County, has issued a warning to traders regarding the prohibited use of single-use plastic bags.
He said that plastic bags were slowly making their way back onto the shelves, six years after they were banned.
Ofula stated that the products were entering Kisumu through the porous borders of Kenya-Uganda and Kenya-Tanzania. Those engaged in the trade then distribute them to local small traders in the region.
He said most of the products were from neighboring Uganda, where they have not been banned. He added that NEMA was seeking collaboration with other agencies to halt this trend.
Use of the bags is rampant at marketplaces where traders use them to package various commodities, including vegetables and edible oils, he added.
Ahero market, he said, was the most notorious and NEMA has mounted a crackdown to wipe out the products from the market.
Ofula added that the campaign has, over the last year, netted 26 suspects who were arraigned in court and fined.
However, he noted that the fines prescribed by the law were small and therefore not deterrents, explaining why the menace was still rampant in the area.
“We are in talks with the courts to impose hefty fines so that once a person is charged and fined, they can at least feel the pain of the fine so that they don’t go back to the same business. A fine of Sh2,000 is way too low,” he said.
He asked members of the public to join hands with NEMA and volunteer information to lead to the arrest of more suspects.
Kenya urged to create a market for recycled plastic
In another development, Kenya has been urged to take advantage of the emerging opportunity in plastic credits, which has gained traction in recent years as a means of addressing the global problem of plastic pollution.
The basic idea behind plastic credits is to develop a market-based solution that encourages businesses to reduce their use of plastic and invest in plastic waste management and recycling programs by putting a monetary value on reducing plastic waste.
A plastic credit is a certificate representing the collection of a specified weight of plastic waste that has been recovered and/or recycled, which would have otherwise ended up in the natural environment.
These credits are measurable, traceable, and verifiable, ensuring that they represent real reductions in plastic waste.
There are two key participants in plastic credits. One issue is companies that use plastic in their products and packaging. The other is projects that collect plastic from the environment and or recycle plastic that is collected.
The idea is that by establishing a market for recycled plastic, businesses and governments will be encouraged to invest in recycling infrastructure. This investment will help create jobs and stimulate economic growth.
Plastic credits can also encourage innovation in plastic recycling technology, making the recycling of plastic waste easier and more cost-effective.
They serve as a useful tool in promoting a green economy by incentivizing businesses and organizations to reduce their plastic waste and invest in more sustainable practice.
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