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African green lobby commend Kenya’s plastic ban

NAIROBI (Xinhua) -- Kenya’s historic plastic ban that was implemented on Monday has earned accolades from a leading African green lobby group which termed it a giant step towards securing the country’s sustainable future.

Greenpeace Africa said in a statement issued in Nairobi that Kenya has set a precedent in environmental conservation by imposing a ban on manufacture and use of plastic carrier bags.

The Executive Director of Greenpeace Africa Jeri Kabeberi said that Kenya has inspired other countries in the continent through the landmark decision to ban plastic packaging materials whose threat to ecosystems and livelihoods is profound.

“Greenpeace Africa welcomes the decision by the government to implement the plastic bags ban. This is a beacon of hope in fostering an environmentally conscious society and is a clear message that Kenya is ready to join other African countries in taking bold steps on environmental issues that are key to ensuring a sustainable future,” Njeri said.

Cabinet Secretary for Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources Judi Wakhungu in late February announced that the plastic ban will be effective from Aug. 8 in line with a regional pact to phase them out and reduce pollution.

The country’s manufacturing lobby opposed the ban citing its adverse impact on jobs and wealth creation in the country.

High Court Judges ruled in favor of a case filed by the manufacturing lobby to suspend the ban until viable alternatives to ecologically harmful polythene carrier bags were found.

However, the Environment Ministry on Aug. 26 got a boost in its drive to ban plastic bags when the high court suspended the injunction placed by manufacturers.

Conservationists hailed the court’s decision to allow the plastic ban to be implemented in full, saying it marked a critical milestone in Kenya’s transition to green economy.

“Kenyans need to adopt 100 percent re-usable and eco-friendly packaging materials in the market like traditional baskets,” said Kabeberi.

“As we welcome this ban, we cannot forget the challenge that lies ahead of us in dealing with the tones of plastic already polluting our environment,” she added.

The Kenyan-born green advocate said her organization is willing to partner with the central and county governments to boost solid waste management at the grassroots level.


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