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Kenya to ban plastic bottles to address environmental degradation

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya plans to ban manufacture of plastic bottles to help address environmental degradation, a government official said on Thursday.

Mohamed Elmi, chief administrative secretary of environment and forestry, said the plastic bottle industry will be deregistered like it happened to polythene bags, which were proscribed last year owing to environmental ruin.

“We are not announcing here and now the ban of plastic bottles, but we shall apply the drastic method if the rate of production continues to outstrip that of recycling,” Elmi said during the signing of a partnership agreement for a circular economy for plastic bottles between manufacturers and recyclers.

Elmi said the government will offer the needed support towards the realization of the deal and its objectives, and called upon all plastic bottle recyclers and manufacturers to join PET Recycling Company (PETCO), which is the parent organization of the recyclers.

The agreement is an integrated recycling scheme that aims at creating an end-to-end ecosystem for plastic reprocessing in the country with the circular economy concept that keeps resources in use for a long time.

Geoffrey Wahungu, director-general of the National Environment Management Authority, said all the manufacturers of plastic bottles will be obliged to join PETCO or risk being deregistered, an action he said will jeopardize 11,000 jobs.

“All measures to a litter-free nation cannot be undertaken in isolation. There is a role for every stakeholder to play to systematically improve waste management in Kenya,” he stated, adding that a sound environment supervision entail use of waste reduction technologies in production, resource efficiency and recovering value from products.

John Waithaka, chairman of PETCO, said the agreement demonstrated commitment by industry players on the management of post-consumer plastic bottles.

Under the deal, the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) will undertake lobbying and advocacy with various government agencies and the legislative push for the creation of laws under which producers are given a significant financial or physical responsibility for the treatment or disposal of post-consumer products among its members.



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