Government clarifies on the issue of plastic ban

The government is working on a diverse programme and policies to come up with guidelines on how to address the issue of plastic bottles.

The Environment Principal Secretary( PS), Charles Sunkuli has confirmed that some work was in progress and that the guidelines to be ready by April this year would see them establish a take back scheme.

Sunkuli said through a technical team from the Ministry, National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) and the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) that is in place, they would be able to come up with guidelines that would help rid the environment of plastics.

The plastic bottle take back scheme will involve collecting waste bottles and selling them for recycling and we are also working with the industry players to ensure the take back plan works, he added.

Speaking in his office on Tuesday, the PS said the scheme would also see creation of an attractive business environment, even as the government puts into practice an orderly solid waste management plan in the country.

Kenyans expect to experience a cleaner environment following partnership agreement between industry players and government to collect and sell disused plastic bottles, he said.

The PS clarified that after consultations between government and private sector, it was agreed that plastic bottles take back scheme would follow best practices as set by the PETCO recycling company in South Africa.

The Model, he added, would be championed by Coca Cola regional office in Nairobi and would incorporate all the 47 County governments.

We are approaching the issue of plastic bottle littering in a structured manner. I therefore wish to clarify that the Ministry has not mooted any plans to ban the plastic bottles and but will instead tackle the problem by establishing a take back scheme, Sunkuli insisted.

NEMA had two weeks ago threatened to ban production, sale, and use of plastic bottles if manufacturers failed to install collection points by April. It was said to be drafting a gazette notice that would see plastic bottles’ ban effected by April 30.

This prompted Parliament last week to summon the PS over the intended ban on plastic bottles in what could delay the process.

Meanwhile, Sunkuli has confirmed that since the plastic ban on carrier bags was effected, the government has had 80 percent success rate.

He added that airlines have also been very vocal in ensuring that passengers were alerted that Kenya does not allow plastic bags in.

Despite the success, the PS however warned of few small traders in some centers and markets around the country were still selling plastic carrier bags illegally.

We are working with Customs and Immigration to ensure that plastic bags do not find their way into the country, Sunkuli said.

The government banned the use of plastics through a Gazette notice on February 27 last year.

Source: Kenya News Agency