Dandora one of Nairobi’s largest dumping sites tells the story of the plastic bags menace in Kenya vividly, about 5O% of the trash in this site is plastic bags. This could however Change as the ministry for environment has gazetted a law that states that government will no longer allow the use of plastic bags in the country in the next six months .The reasons cited is that plastic bags are a threat to our environment and are contributors to environmental degradation.
The hurdles in this scenario however are the thousands of jobs that will be lost due to this directive with manufacturers already counting their losses and trying to get the government to change its directive due to the losses it will cost the economy.
By removing plastic bags from the picture a void is created and it has to be filled. What will the common mwananchi carry her groceries in? Many will be quick to answer paper bags or tote bags. Scientist are however of the opinion that paper bags have a bigger negative impact on climate change than plastic bags .Paper bags have a higher carbon imprint .They require a lot of energy during production and thus a lot of greenhouse gases are emitted causing pollution.
Some of The reasons why Kenyans support the governments directive on phasing out of the plastic bags could include.
- Plastic bags have been the thorn in their flesh, the litter on Kenyan streets is mostly plastic bags.
- Drainage systems in major towns and estates have been rendered useless due to plastic bags getting stuck in them and causing blockage.
- Plastic bags have infringed on our oceans leading to their contamination, additionally fish, and marine mammals in general ingest them. These plastic bags poison or choke the fish leading to their death.
- Plastic by itself is a toxin which is not good for a person’s health. People ingest toxins by consuming contaminated sea mammals. This leads to health complications.
The die seems to have already been cast on this one but things are never done until they are done .We are counting down six months to see how the dust settles on this plastic bags ban. Will the ministry of environment win or will plastic bags manufacturers carry the day?
PS; Kindly leave your comments on why you support or do not support the use of plastic bags.
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