Several oil and chemical companies in the USA are pushing for the Trump administration to use the US-Kenya trade deal to expand its plastic and chemical industries across Africa. In the said report  https://unearthed.greenpeace.org/ Kenya is set to serve in the future as a hub for supplying US made chemicals and plastics to other markets in Africa through its existing trade agreement. Since the 1950s around 8.3 billion tons of plastic have been produced worldwide and over the last 50 years world plastic production has double. We cannot solve the existing problem by hiding it. Africa will not be used as a plastic dumping site so as to enrich a few people’s pockets at the expense of our environment. We need to adopt the cyclic economy by reusing and recycling products instead of embracing the traditional linear economy where we produce and dispose. This Covid19 Era has seen millions if not billions of PPEs (Personal Protective Equipment’s) produced thus creating a pollution crisis in our water and land. Facemasks are made up of plastic elements and its decomposition time is estimated to be 450 years. This proposal goes against Africa’s Bamako Convention a treaty which prohibits virtually all plastic waste imports into Africa as well as the import of many hazardous chemicals. We as environmentalists in Kenya see this as a huge set back to our already existing laws on plastic ban both in the manufacturing and use of it. The Government of Kenya through the Ministry of Environment should ensure this does not happen or else we will hold them accountable.  Below are some of the facts we need to consider before taking this path of using Africa as a dumping site.

10 facts on Plastic Pollution:

  • Since the 1950s, around 8.3 billion tons of plastic have been produced worldwide.
  • In some parts of the world, using plastic is already illegal.
  • 73% of beach litter worldwide is plastic
  • A million plastic bottles are bought around the world every minute.
  • Worldwide, about 2 million plastic bags are used every minute,
  • 90% of plastic polluting our oceans is carried by just 10 rivers.
  • Plastic is killing more than 1.1 million seabirds and animals every year.
  • The average person eats 70,000 microplastics each year.
  • The average time that a plastic bag is used for is approximately 1 minutes
  • Over the past 50 years, world plastic production has doubled.

Effects of plastic pollution:

  • Physical impact on marine life: entanglement, ingestion, starvation
  • Chemical impact: the buildup of persistent organic pollutants like PCBs and DDT
  • Transport of invasive species and pollutants from polluted rivers to remote areas in the ocean
  • Economic impact: damage to fisheries, shipping, and tourism

Solutions to beating the plastic menace:

  • Reduce: To efficiently reduce plastic pollution, there is an evident need of reducing our usage of plastic. It means changing our everyday behaviors and not using plastic when there is a better alternative to it and only using plastic when strictly necessary.
  • Reuse: Plastic may cause pollution when poorly managed but it has lots of advantages too, such as being resistant. Many plastic items can therefore be reused or used for different purposes. Before throwing plastic items, it is important to consider how they can be reused.
  • Recycle: Plastic recycling consists of collecting plastic waste and reprocessing it into new products, to reduce the amount of plastic in the waste stream.
  • Educate: Another crucial solution is education in order to increase awareness and behavioral change.

This is a fight we as the climate change and environmental lobby groups we will not take lying down. SAY NO TO PLASTICs #Beatplasticpollution

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