Uhuru announces ban on single use plastic in Kenya

In Summary

• Ban to take effect on June 5, 2020

• Previous bans challenged in court.

Plastic Bottles on a beach.
Plastic Bottles on a beach.
Image: FILE

President Uhuru Kenyatta has announced a ban on single-use plastics in beaches, national parks, forests and conservation areas.

While addressing the opening plenary of Day 3 of the ongoing Women Deliver 2019 Conference, in Vancouver Canada, Uhuru said that the ban will take effect on June 5, 2020.

"Sustainable environment is a guarantee to a healthy, better and productive society. And that is why women and girls who are key victims of unsustainable practices must own this campaign as part of the gender equality campaign," Uhuru said.

He added that Kenya is a trailblazing nation with regards to environmental protection and conservation, the main actors in this are women.

In effect, this means Kenyans going to the beach or national parks are banned from carrying water bottles, plastic plates, plastic cups as well as plastic spoons and forks.

Water bottles are seen as a major nuisance for the environment in Kenya with many littering rivers, the Indian Ocean, forests and even drainages.

Two years ago, Kenya banned the use, manufacture and sale of environmentally harmful plastics, polythene bags and packaging materials.

The ban was challenged but the courts upheld it.

The ban has been seen as having been a success with less plastic bags being collected.

There have however been incidences where unscrupulous businessmen have been illegally importing the plastic bag.

Airlines have also been in the forefront announcing to their passengers that Kenya does not allow plastic bags.

The plastic menace was discussed during the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA 2) held in Nairobi between May 23 to 27, 2016.

The world’s environment ministers gathered at the second session of the United Nations Environment Assembly and passed far-reaching resolutions.

These included those touching on marine litter, the illegal trade in wildlife, air pollution, chemicals and waste, and sustainable consumption and production.