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Goodbye polythene waste, Kenya hates you!

By Mickey Kitonga Jnr

Kigali Rwanda, the most cleanest city in East and central Africa!!! How now?

In 2008, Rwanda banned the use of polythene carrier bags. The result was amazing, a cleaner environment! Years down the lane and Kigali is one of the super clean cities in Africa.

Today in Kenya, an East African country like Rwanda, you can hardly look around without spotting Polythene litter lying around. If you think this is a joke, just turn your head around!

Toilets, sewages, streets and parks are the most affected areas. You just don’t want to imagine a blocked sewage, it is a nightmare you don’t want to wake up to. The polythene bags menace is just unimaginable!

On 28th February 2017, the ministry of Environment & National Resources in conjunction with the National Environment Management Authority NEMA placed a gazette notice banning the use, sell, manufacture and importation of plastic bags. The notice gave a six months Grace period to the manufacturers, importers, sellers and users of plastic bags to make the necessary adjustments. 28th August would be the end of the grace period!

As you would expect, Kenyans were reluctant to accept the reality, with a team of plastic manufacturers going to court to stop the ban, everyone thought the ban would never take effect. With the court quashing the application, the ban caught Kenyans unaware, and sure the implementation kicked off. Two months later and slowly the polythene carrier bags are becoming a thing of the past.

THE BIG QUESTION: Why is the ban of polythene carrier bags so important?

While growing up, as it was the norm in Ukambani, I was our family’s heard boy, I loved looking after the cattle, to me it was fun.

Within the flock was my favorite Bull Kisilu. He was my hero. As boys, we loved bull fights, the fights were slated for the weekends, mostly in the evening while taking the heard home. Kisilu was strong, unbeatable, he was known across a number of villages for his strength. I was proud of Kisilu.

One morning, we woke up to an unexpected tragedy, Kisilu was dead. No, this couldn’t be true, unfortunately it was. I cried. This happened so fast that we couldn’t even call the area Vet doctor to offer Kisilu first aid. Shortly after, a quick postmortem was carried out to determine what had caused Kisilus death.

What a shock, on opening him up, the stomach and intestines were filled up with polythene pieces, in fact half of the bowel was all plastic bags. This had blocked the normal functioning of the bowel that the normal digestion and ingestion couldn’t take place, what a loss, Polythene bags had robbed me off the bull I loved!

Livestock farmers every day count massive losses of their livestock to the Polythene menace.

Plastic kill more animals than you can imagine. This can only be stopped by the 28th August 2017 ban.

Those living in the urban areas will agree with me that a blocked sewage is a nightmare that no one wants to wake up to. When these plastic waste find its way to the sewage tunnels, the whole system clogs causing at times sewage floods. A threat to the health of people given diseases like cholera are easily transmitted through such sewage waste!

Recently, a friend and I had a game drive through the Nairobi national Park. What I witnessed was shocking: how the park is littered with polythene waste everywhere. This sent me to recall the late Kisilu my once favorite Bull whose death was as a result of the Polythene bags he had swallowed. I quickly imagined the number of wildlife affected by the plastic waste.

If you have young ones around, then you know how much worry plastic bags give you. The possibility of a young one suffocating themselves to death with these polythene is always high. You never like it when these paper bags are lying around. However, with now the effective ban on the Polythene carrier bags then these worries are about to be cured.

Generally, polythene waste is a threat to the environment. From dirtying the streets, to killing animals, to getting the sewages clogged.

The ban will no doubt cure a lot of evils inflicted to the environment by the Polythene waste.

Kenya being a tourists attraction, this ban will provide a more greener environment than what we’ve previously had with the plastic waste everywhere.

Yay, the wildlife is finally safe, the environment is cleaner than before, thanks to the 28th February Gazette Notice!!!

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