What you need to know:
- The United Nations Environment Programme observes that over 400 million tonnes of plastic are produced each year, with half of that amount used to create single-use items such as shopping bags, cups and straws.
- At least 14 million tonnes of plastic end up in the ocean every year.
Months after Kenya and other United Nations member states resolved to have a treaty that will see the end of plastic pollution, experts now urge the country to lead the war on plastics in Africa.They told policy makers not to allow the country to be used as a dumping ground for plastic waste by developed nations through trade agreements.Speaking at Baraza Media Lab in Nairobi during a dialogue on unpacking the resolution to end plastic pollution on June 14, Joachim Paul , Nairobi office director at Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung , an NGO that is part of the global Green movement, pointed out that plastic pollution is a problem that cannot be ignored anymore. He called for concerted efforts from all the stakeholders to find a lasting solution to the crisis.“The impact of this crisis ,which is linked to climate change and the food crisis that we are currently experiencing, is putting pressure on the planet,” he said.The United Nations Environment Programme observes that over 400 million tonnes of plastic are produced each year, with half of that amount used to create single-use items such as shopping bags, cups and straws. At least 14 million tonnes of plastic end up in the ocean every year. Plastic debris is the most abundant type of litter in the ocean, accounting for 80 per cent of all marine debris discovered from surface waters to deep-sea sediments.In Nairobi, it is estimated that 2,400 tonnes of solid waste are generated every day, with 20 per cent of that being in plastic form and mostly single use-plastic like as straws, bottles and packaged consumer goods.Fredrick Njau, the programme coordinator, sustainable development at Heinrich Boell Foundation, said: “Four hundred million tonnes of plastic is produced annually and only less than 10 per cent is recycled. Plastics take over 400 years to degrade, which is dangerous to the environment, humans and animals.”Power Shift Africa's senior advisor on Just Energy Transition Amos Wemanya pointed out that Kenya lacks infrastructure to manage both biodegradable and non-degradable waste. He said there is need to protect developing countries through global regulatory framework to ensure no plastic waste is dumped in the nations.“It is time companies that depend on plastic consider alternatives in readiness for a plastic treaty in 2024. With only two years for the resolution to be tabled, Kenya has an opportunity to demonstrate leadership by going a further step and ridding the country of single-use plastic such as s such as polyethylene terephthalate (PETs), the chemical name for polyester,” he added.[email protected], [email protected]