Uhuru urges other countries to ban plastic bags


Delegates at a UN conference at the UNEP headquarters in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | DIANA NGILA | NMG

President Uhuru Kenyatta is now encouraging other countries across the world to follow Kenya's example by banning plastic paper bags in order to tackle pollution.

While speaking at the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) conference in Nairobi Tuesday, Mr Kenyatta noted that since implementation of the ban the country has made clear gains towards ending land, marine and air pollution.

“My advice is that nations should not heed the sceptics who say that all countries cannot protect our planet better by banning plastic carrier bags,” he said.

He noted that the ban, which was effected by the Environment Ministry in late August, has proved that the public can turn to alternative materials for their daily use.

“As a country, we have learned our lessons and have taken various measures to deal with pollution in general...It is our intention to work with interested nations to explore the full potential of the blue economy,” said Mr Kenyatta.

The president also revealed that Kenya is planning a major anti-pollution forum, the East African Framework Agreement on Air Pollution, that could culminate in inking an agreement towards tackling air pollution the region.

“In furthering the Agreement on Air Pollution, we hope to repeat the success we have achieved with the ban of plastic carrier bags, and we look forward to global support in this effort,” Mr Kenyatta told delegates as he officially kicked off the key meeting at the UNEP headquarters today.

Global menace

The forum in Nairobi brings together over 4,000 Heads of State, ministers, business leaders, UN officials and civil society representatives with the aim of tackling the global pollution menace.

The conference entered its second day today as delegates from across the world deliberated measures to find a common goal to end harmful destruction of the environment.

Kenya's ban on plastic carrier bags continued to receive praise from delegates throughout the conference.

Tuesday's agenda will revolve on strengthening gender policies for a toxin-free planet and using art to turn the tide on plastics.

Tackling air pollution, marine litter, micro plastics finance and the challenges facing governments and industries will also be among issues discussed.

Cabinet Secretaries Judy Wakhungu (Environment) and Amina Mohamed (Foreign Affairs) were also present at today's session of the UNEA.

READ: Factories churn out plastic bags despite ban

ALSO READ: Kenya urged to adopt policies that support recycling of plastics