In the lead up to the UN summit being held in Nairobi, UNEP has named Kenya as an emerging leader in the fight against plastic pollution and among the first countries in East Africa to sign the Clean Seas initiative.
This comes on the backdrop of President Biden putting on hold any new free trade agreement negotiations with the Kenyan government, which may have opened the floodgates to plastic imports if the American Chemistry Council (ACC) lobbying proved successful.
Greenpeace Africa Senior Political Advisor, Fredrick Njehu says the deal which may see plastics re introduced is not completely off the table as it should be.
“It is encouraging that Kenya’s environmental stewardship has been acknowledged worldwide. Both officials and ordinary citizens have fought against the menace that single-use plastic has become in Africa. However, the threats to our country’s efforts remain real.
Devoted Youth Foundation volunteers cart single-use plastic waste collected from Nairobi River. Credit: Greenpeace
“Both countries have a joint responsibility to make trade right for the people and the planet, and not just free for corporations. Any trade and investment agreement between the two countries must exclude any imports of plastic waste into East Africa.
“Kenya has invested heavily in both policy regulations and law enforcement to win the fight against plastic pollution. NEMA recently launched a new wave of surveillance to heighten checks on the outlawed plastic bags across the country. Our government must be firm and must stay true to its efforts against the plastic pollution crisis which is exacerbating climate emergencies.”
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