STATEMENT IN SUPPORT OF PLASTIC BAGS BAN
NAIROBI, 3rd August 2017.
Environment 254 (E+254) is sternly alarmed by a statement from Kenya Association of Manufactures-KAM, seeking to have the ban on Plastic Bags lifted. The ban Gazette Notice No. 2356 dated 28th February 2017, on The Environmental Management and Coordination Act issued by the Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Natural Resources to ban the use, manufacture and importation of all plastic bags should be adhered to.
Chapter Four of the Kenyan Constitution under Art 42 states that every person has the right to a clean and healthy environment. In addition Chapter 5, Part 2, Art. 69 (1) (g) obligates the Government eliminate processes and activities that are likely to endanger the environment. Use, manufacture and importation fall under this bracket. KAM is getting it wrong by noting that they were not “extensively” consulted prior to the Gazette Notice. We find this to be utterly preposterous, given that the plastic bags affect more than two million residents of Nairobi alone. Interests of safeguarding the environment for forty million plus Kenyans supersede that of a few KAM members.
KAM further asserts that, the ban will result in the loss of over 60, 000 jobs generated by 176 Plastic manufactures. We find that this is a camouflage rhetoric that ignores the entire notion that, if we lose our environment our entire lives will be lost. It takes simple thought to conceptualize that KAM ought to secure 60,000 jobs by engaging in production of environmentally safe material.
The propagation from KAM, that local manufactures exercise responsible business practices in regards to waste management and that there should be excusal given the remittance of excise duty is misguided. Local manufactures are solely profit oriented and successfully managed to subvert twice, plastic ban in 2007 and 2011. Plasctic bags in Kenya have been with us for over half a century, and the concept that KAM will create a fund to help in managing the waste should have been a self driven initiative prior to the ban.
Finally, commitment by KAM to environmental conservation through its Centre for Energy Efficiency and Conservation is commendable; nonetheless, complete eradication of plastic bags by discontinued production and adherence to the law is the ultimate solution.
UNEP, has continuously advised Kenya that plastic bags are an eyesore that continue to damaged agricultural land, pollute tourist sites, providing breeding grounds for mosquitoes that carry malaria and dengue fever. Plastic bags have long been identified a major threat to habitats, causing environmental and health damages, killing fish in the water bodies, birds and other animals that suffocate or mistake the bags for food.
With the ban in place Kenya joins environmentally conscious states legislating against plastic production and consumption which has been successful. Countries which have done so include in Rwanda, Uganda, Bangladesh and Ireland since 2002, Denmark since 2003, Brazil, France and Belgium (2007), China (2008), Mexico ( 2010), Italy as well as Wales (2011) and Scotland (2014).
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