Companies and individuals must take action to curb plastic pollution


A security guard stands next to pallets of plastic waste which was off-loaded from a 40ft container at the Mitchell Cotts CFS in Kibarani soon after it arrived from UK. PHOTO | NMG

The theme of this year's World Environment Day "#BeatPlasticPollution" underscores the urgent need for action in addressing one of the biggest environmental challenges we face today.

Plastic pollution has devastating impacts on our oceans, wildlife, and human health.

The National Environment Management Authority estimates that Kenya's capital city Nairobi alone generates about 2,400 tons of solid waste daily, 20 percent of which is in plastic form.

Despite having laws and measures in place, Kenya and other developing countries continue to suffer from plastic pollution, while many developed countries have restricted the use of products and packaging.

The responsibility falls on all of us, as individuals, organisations, and businesses, to take concrete steps to reduce our plastic consumption and prevent plastic pollution in our environment.

We have a crucial role to play in protecting our planet and should ensure we are dedicated to doing our part.

This year’s theme is a call to action for all of us to take steps to reduce our plastic consumption and prevent plastic pollution in our environment.

Creating awareness is the first step in addressing today’s environmental challenges.

Fostering plastic pollution prevention within society’s educational system will provide a powerful and feasible pathway to a more sustainable and efficient way of tackling plastic pollution.

Environmental education — including school-level education for students, sustainable consumption behaviour guidance, and pollution prevention education for the public — can shape community perceptions of the dangers of plastic pollution and available solutions, thereby empowering more people to act responsibly.

As consumers, we can do our part by reducing our use of single-use plastics, recycling, and supporting businesses that prioritise environmental sustainability.

However, retailers and manufacturers also have a crucial role to play in this effort. Business operations should be cognizant of the fact that their operations contribute to this problem and take steps to reduce our carbon footprint.

Organisations should commit to concrete steps to reduce their plastic footprint and contribute to the fight against plastic pollution.

This means prioritising sustainability in all aspects of their operations, from their supply chains to their manufacturing processes and packaging.

Much of the plastic waste in the country is mismanaged, with poor or unavailable waste and plastic waste management systems.

Domestic waste from the use of plastic bags, grocery bags, and plastic water bottles is poorly handled and ultimately end up in the environment where they massively interrupt drainage, interfere with the soil structure, and short-circuit the environmental food chain.

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