April 22 every year is Earth Day. According to a United Nations report, plastic is the largest, most harmful and persistent part of marine litter, accounting for at least 85% of the total marine litter, and the increase in marine litter has led to the death of a large number of marine life. Plastic not only pollutes the ocean but also pollutes the forest. A large amount of plastic waste will seriously pollute the environment.

Enforcing strict plastic ban

In response to this issue, Kenya has fully implemented the “plastic ban”, prohibiting the use, manufacture and import of all plastic bags for commercial and household purposes in Kenya. Most Kenyans welcome it. Some small traders who have been packaging their products in plastic bags hope the government will give more buffer time, because switching to other packaging, the cost will rise.

Some researchers have pointed out that the ban is unrealistic at the current level of municipal plastic waste management.

There are currently more than 30 manufacturers of plastic bags in Kenya, and there are many players in the plastic industry, which is a huge contribution of the plastic industry to the Kenyan economy. And because of the low price, plastic bags are also one of the necessities that people need in Kenya. Researchers believe that the plastic ban policy is not based on extensive research and does not provide appropriate alternatives and that a blind total ban on the use of plastic may cause a serious blow to Kenya’s already sizeable plastics industry.

Establishing a plastic management system

plastic recycling in Kenya
plastic recycling in Kenya

Experts believe that Kenya needs to establish an integrated plastic waste management system. This requires support and coordination from all levels of government, businesses and civil society organizations. At the same time the chain of recovery and recycling can also create more jobs for people in Kenya. Specific measures that can be considered include as following:

  • Separate plastic waste from other wastes, and subdivide various plastic wastes according to their materials to effectively utilize different polymers;
  • Set up a professional waste treatment center, with special personnel responsible for washing and sorting plastic waste;
  • Provide recycling technology and economic support for plastic waste treatment, provide plastic recycling equipment, and provide professional plastic pulverizers and plastic granulators for waste plastics that can be recycled and granulated, such as PP, PE, to realize the recycling of plastics;
  • Strengthen professional teaching and training in plastic waste recycling, including the use and maintenance of various recycling equipment.
plastic washing recycling machine
plastic waste recycling machines