KENYA – The Vihiga County government has intensified efforts to collect and dispose of plastic materials within the main trading centers.

This comes against the backdrop of increasing volumes of used plastic containers and paper bags that are littering trading centers in the county.

Deputy Governor (DG) Wilberforce Kitiezo led the staff from the Department of Environment and Luanda town dwellers in a clean-up exercise last week to commemorate World Cleanup Day.

The exercise was the second for the monthly initiative that was launched by Governor Dr. Wilber Ottichilo in Mbale town last month.

Mr. Kitiezo said they are also encouraging the residents to reuse or drop the non-biodegradable materials in designated litter bins for proper disposal.

The DG said plans are at an advanced stage to make Luanda a municipality, a move that would spur socio-economic growth in the area.

On his part, the acting County Executive Committee Member (CECM) for Environment and Water Resources, Joseph Lunani, called on residents to participate in environmental conservation by planting trees and adopting agricultural practices that protect flora and fauna.

The effort comes after NEMA issued a public notice urging immediate action to clear post-consumer waste from the environment in preparation for El Nino.

In a statement, NEMA instructed all producers specifically those in the packaging, textile, and baby diaper industries to ensure that post-consumer waste does not clog drainage systems.

NEMA further directed the producers to ensure their waste does not obstruct the flow of rivers or cause pollution to the ecosystems.

Status of plastic waste management in Vihiga County

Mismanagement and unmanaged plastic waste is acute in most counties, where the infrastructure, reuse and recycling is often insufficient.

Despite the challenges, Vihiga through the Department of Environment, Water, Energy, Natural Resources and Climate has put in place various measures to enhance waste management activities.

This includes budgetary allocation every financial year that has facilitated the acquisition of 10-acre land for solid waste disposal and recycling, acquisition of waste skips for waste collection in markets and acquisition of Waste Management Vehicles and equipment with support from KUSP.

However, the County Government has set up a solid institutional and legal framework to manage plastic pollution through models of circular economy, waste to energy concept involving the informal/private sector in the County’s plastic waste management.

Among the policies and planning documents developed by the Department of Water, Environment, Energy and Natural resources include the County Environment Action Plan (CEAP); Waste Management Policy (WMP) and Waste Management Strategy (WMS).

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