Friday, 30 June 2017

Kenya's Plastic Nightmare & Fantasy vs Reality

August is near, and every Kenyan is panicking,

C’mon, this isn’t about the elections.
Remember the notice that was gazetted back in March stating that, starting August 28th, Kenya will go plastic bags free?

We’re now only a month away from it’s execution.
Turns out you are fed up with drainage systems getting blocked every time it rains leading to unnecessary floods, the millions of non-biogradable waste piling up at Dandora dump site, the hundreds of paper bags piling up at the bottom drawer of your kitchen cabinet, your constant hospitalizations from malaria disease…  I guess that’s why you went as far as signing that Avaaz Petition that drew  thousands of signatures.

And now, you can’t wait to see and be a part of a cleaner and greener future, or so you think.

But before we get there, there are things you and I have to think about.  Things like;

IGNORANCE: Why aren’t there any proper waste disposal methods in place?  Why doesn’t the government put in to place proper ways to dispose trash, so that it can be recycled?  Why aren’t there penalties for idiots who don’t dispose trash properly?  On daily basis, you’ll see someone throw trash through their car window or in some ditch while walking and continues with their business like what they just did is the sanest thing ever.

In the simplest of words, trash ought to be separated; whether in the house or at public places.  That way, sorting it out and recycling the recyclable will be much easier.

THE REAL PROBLEM:  Are plastic bags genuinely the real problem? How about plastics bottles?  Plastic bottles that litter every corner, ditch, bush or side walk.  The real causes of unnecessary floods in Nairobi and Mombasa roads.  And it’s not just the plastic bottles, but the plastic plates, spoons and forks food joints pack your hot food in.

And did I mention diapers, kids diapers, sanitary towers and synthetic hair?  If those aren’t our biggest problems, something’s very wrong with our thinking.

RECYCLABLE WASTE COLLECTION POINTS:  Almost every little thing we buy has a Recycle sign on it.  However, none shows or tells where they can be taken for recycling.

Where I live, I see some guys go through people’s trash every Wednesday morning - looking for recyclable stuff.  Can you imagine them, with no gloves or mask on, going through your rotten kitchen waste, used baby diapers and sanitary pads, looking for that one bottle?  Because of that, I always separate my trash.

That though isn’t the solution.  The perfect solution would be to have big retail outlets like Nakumatt, Uchumi, Carrefour, Naivas and Tuskys set up collection points for different kinds of waste (paper bags, plastic bottles, glass, batteries, et cetera) and in turn, forward it to recycling plants.  And well, if an outlet doesn’t offer that service, it shouldn’t be allowed to sell anything plastic.

This being the third time Kenya has attempted to implement this law, it’s likely that once again, it’ll be postponed.  Whether it is or this third time turns out a charm, remember that being Eco-friendly starts with you.

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