PRESIDENT BANS SINGLE-USE PLASTICS IN PROTECTED AREAS
President Uhuru Kenyatta has announced ban on single-use plastics in all our protected areas, including national parks, beaches, forests and conservation areas effective June 5, 2020.
We congratulateand thank the President for this important step in waste management and conservation of our natural resources. More so since it came after a passionate appeal from the tourism and wildlife conservation stakeholders, who have fully supported the President’s action. We also appreciate thatthe President made the announcement significantly on 5th June – World Environment Day (WED).
Plastic pollution is impacting our land, ecosystems, water and marine life, as well as our food chain and the public health. According to the United Nations Environmental Program 2018 report, the production of plastic has outpaced that of every other material. Much of the plastic produced is designed to be thrown away after being used only once. As a result, plastic packaging accounts for about half of the plastic waste in the world.
Plastics were introduced in Kenya in the 1960s as a simple solution for packaging. Over the years, these plastics are continuously used and dumped recklessly becoming biggest challenge in solid waste management. Kenya Vision 2030 picked waste management as a major national issue and made plastics management a flagship project that should be addressed urgently.
The government is mandated through the Constitution of Kenya 2010, Article 42 to assure and provide to all Kenyans a clean and healthy environment, and through Article 69 to eliminate all processes and activities that degrade the environment.
The Wildlife Conversation and Management Act (WCMA) 2013 defines a ‘Protected Area’ as a geographical space, recognized, dedicated and managed through legal or other effective means, to achieve long-term conservation of nature withassociated ecosystem services and cultural values. The Act further addresses the issue on pollution, with Section 89(1) (b) and (c) of the Wildlife Conservation and Management Act, making it an offense to pollute within these protected areas.
Once used and disposed improperly, plastic bottles, straws and related products become litter and find their way into open grounds, waterways, vegetation in National Parks, beaches and conservation areas.
During the Sustainable Blue Economy Conference held in Nairobi, Kenya from 26thto 28th of November 2018, Kenya made several commitments, among them, to confront the challenge of waste management and plastic pollution.
The ban of plastics bottles, straws, and related products in the protected areas that was announced by the Presidentyesterday shall be effective in 12 Months,i.e. by 4thJune 2020. The ban underlines the government’s commitment inmanaging the plastic pollution menace, in line with the various legal provisions on waste management and conservation of the natural resources and ecosystems, as well as Kenya milestones in achieving Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, especially:
- Goal 12:- That provides for governments and private entities toensure and promote sustainable consumption and production patterns, in particular target 12.5 that aims to substantially reduce waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse by 2030.
- Goal 14:- That provides for government and private entities toconserve and sustainably uses the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development, in particular target 14.1 that aims to prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds, in particular from land-based activities, including marine debris and nutrient pollution by 2025.
- Goal 15:- That provides for governments and private entities toprotect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss, target 15.4 that aims, to ensure the conservation of mountain ecosystems,including their biodiversity, in order to enhance their capacity to provide benefits that are essential for sustainable development for by 2030.
The Ministry commits to ensure that the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) and all stakeholders in the wildlife sector jointly work towards the full implementation of this ban on single-use plastics in all our protected areas, including national parks, beaches, forests and conservation areas. We will also organize for public consultation and participation on drafting of regulations necessary for this implementation.