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February 22, 2018

New waste Bill as Kenya hosts UNEA conference

Traders at the main market in Eldoret display the alternative bags they are now using following the ban on plastic bags, August 28, 2017. Photo/File
Traders at the main market in Eldoret display the alternative bags they are now using following the ban on plastic bags, August 28, 2017. Photo/File

 The government has drafted a new Bill to improve waste management ahead of a United Nations Environment Assembly meeting that begins in Nairobi today.

Environment CS Judi Wakhungu said the government is determined to end environmental degradation.

Speaking at an event to usher in the UNEA meeting in Nairobi, Wakhungu said Kenya was still lagging behind in preventing pollution.

She said the government had made 60 arrests for violation of plastic carrier, since a ban on the bags took effect in August.

Wakhungu said the ban is one of Kenya's biggest successes in the prevention of environmental degradation.

“Kenya is cleaner since the ban came into force and in six months we will be much better," she said.

She said more efforts were being put in place to enforce the ban and ensure strict compliance.

The UNEA meeting is the the third to be hosted in Kenya after similar ones in 2014 and 2016.

The forum will look at empowering policies and innovative financing for such anti-pollution investments.

The meeting will also showcase science’s role in problem-solving as well as stir up critical thinking among participants.

An Environment Management Group Nexus dialogue on pollution, cities and health to be co-hosted by the United Nations Environment Management Group, the World Health Organization and the United Nations Human Settlements Programme will also take place on Sunday.

The dialogue will focus on the importance of tackling health risks from both the air and water and multi-sectoral approaches to solid waste pollution.

UN statistics show that 6.5 million people die annually from pollution-related illnesses around the world.

An estimated 25 million agricultural workers are also said to experience unintentional pesticide poisoning. Pesticides are listed among pollutants.

Marine littering has also been identified as the key challenge with 100 per cent sea turtles said to have consumed it.

Statistics also show that 80 per cent of waste water enters the environment without treatment.

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