The World Environment Day 2023 was today commemorated at Nakuru National Park, Nakuru County.
This year’s theme is on “solutions to plastic pollution”. Global attention has been focused on plastics use and the damage they continue to wreck on the planet earth.
The theme for this year therefore brought to the attention of the world the pertinent question of how people interact with the plastics in terms of its production, consumption and disposal.
The event was graced by the Environment, Climate Change and Forestry, Cabinet Secretary, Hon. Soipan Tuya who stated that as a country, we need to elevate the environmental agenda in the country. Moreover, she added that we need to adopt the behavior change to safeguard the environment in the country.
"Single use plastic bags are finding their way into our markets, i am directing NEMA to enhance the enforcement actions to get rid of plastic paper bags in the country," the CS said.
She expressed her commitment to turn Kenya from linear to circular economy. She informed the public that young people working in dumpsites will be put into cooperatives where they will be better organized to benefit economically.
The Governor Nakuru County H.E Susan Kihika stated that the County has established the Integrated waste management and Nakuru County Waste management Act.
She added that the County has also implemented the 10 minimum waste management points.
Moreover, the County has grown 500,000 trees and plans to plant 500,000 acres by 2032.
This includes the greening and beatification plan throughout the County and rehabilitated Gioto dumpsite.
One of the most pressing environmental problems we face today is plastic pollution. According to the United Nations Environment Programme (2023), over 400 million tonnes of plastic are produced worldwide each year, with half of it being used only once and less than 10% being recycled.
The CS also sought the assistance of NEMA to gazette more environmental inspectors to support environmental enforcement actions by the County.
According to PS state department of Environment and Climate Eng. Festus Ngeno, Lake Nakuru Biodiversity Program is a national Program implemented in the county government of Nakuru that is supported by KFW and National government to look into the issues of solid waste management by expansion of sewer line so that we don't pollute Lake Nakuru.
The Chairman, NEMA Board of management, Emilio Mugo, since Kenya banned the single plastic paper bags, the Authority formulated a strategy for the implementation of the Ban on Plastic Carrier Bags. The Strategy identified enforcement actions, awareness creation and promotion of green economy as solutions to implementation of the ban.
NEMA Director General Mamo B. Mamo, EBS noted that the solutions to plastic pollution lies with us. Small acts like picking waste create great change. We need a systematic change at individual level that can inspire others.
The DG urged the public to refuse to use plastic papers even if groceries are rapped with them. This is because, by using them, we offer a fodder for the black market of plastic bags to thrive.
The event was also attended by host of various leaders from the County who affirmes the need to protect the environment as well participate in the 15 Billion tree planting campaign.
During the event, the Authority sought to promote innovations on recycling of plastic bags in line with the circular economy. Governments, companies and all stakeholders are called to scale up and speed up actions to solve the plastic pollution crisis.
Machakos, Migori, Enegi, Tambach, Igoji, Galata and Kamwenja Teachers Training Colleges were awarded for participating and winning the national teachers training college debate competition held countrywide on "to ban or not to ban plastic bottles"
The WED celebrations were conducted in all the 47 Counties led by our County Directors of Environment in conjunction with partners in County Government and other stakeholders. All activities were geared towards solutions to plastics pollution as well tree growing activities in line with the Governments 15 billion tree growing strategy.