Plastics pollution has a direct and deadly effect on wildlife, Lake Nakuru deputy warden Harun Sang has said.
He said hundreds of birds and wildlife have suffered because of plastic waste that poses danger to Kenya’s most visited parks.
Some animals die after ingesting plastics.
The most endangered wildlife includes buffaloes, zebras and giraffe, which feed on plants and plastics.
Sang said 30 to 40 tonnes of plastic waste finds its way into the park every rainy season.
“The county is home to birds-rich lakes Nakuru, Naivasha, Elementaita and Solai, which have been immensely polluted by plastic bags. The waste generated from Nakuru town and neighbouring estates is also swept into the lake,” he said.
He said plastic waste is an eyesore to tourists visiting Lake Nakuru Park.
The lake is famous for more than a million flamingoes that form a pink ribbon around the lakeshore, attracting hundreds of visitors a day. There are more than 50 bird species, such as pelicans.
The park is also home to 50 mammal species, including rhinos, lions, leopards and buffalos.
Sang said laws to deter improper waste disposal and the ban on plastics will go a long way in controlling the mess.
He said the plastics bag ban has reduced plastic waste in the park for the last week.
“Although we are still collecting the plastic waste at the lake, we have seen a tremendous reduction because of the ban, which was implemented a week ago,” Sang said.
County Environment executive Richard Rop welcomed the ban.
“We’ve been having challenges in the control of the waste. The storm-water drain is also blocked due to plastic waste. The location of the park downstream makes it vulnerable to pollution. But the mess will be controlled, thanks to the plastic ban,” he said.
Sang added the ban on plastic carrier bags will reduce the cost incurred by the park’s management in clearing the hinterlands to make them safe for wild animals.
He was optimistic that after some months, the park will be clean and the number of tourists will increase.