Environmental activists are calling on both the national and county governments to establish waste recycling plants to generate clean energy and safeguard the threatened Ozone layer.
Speaking on Sunday in Kitui, World CleanUp Day Movement in Kenya Coordinator Christine Sayo noted that energy from waste could be used to produce heat or electricity, which might then replace the energy produced using coal or other fuels.
“The viable approach to tackle the issue of mismanaged waste is to stop its production from the manufacturers. We intend to change the narrative of blaming consumers and push for corporate accountability by calling on these companies to stop producing unnecessary single use plastics,” said Sayo.
The Environmental activist, unafraid of locking horns with multinationals in the plastic industry, urged these companies to move towards real solutions that eliminate the need for single-use plastic packaging altogether for environmentally friendly packages.
Kenyans, for the third year in a row, joined millions across the globe in marking World Clean Up Day on Saturday 19th September.
Hosted by Let’s Do It Kenya, the event for the first time incorporated digital cleanups where individuals participated in cleanups virtually by deleting extra files from their gadgets.
The annual event, marked every third Saturday of September, took place over 36 hours as different countries from different time zones joined in to make a historic green wave of cleanup action.
In Kenya, individuals and stakeholders drawn from Civil Society, Youth Organizations, Academia and Private Sector cleaned public places, neighbourhoods and beaches in addition to the virtual cleanups.
“Kenyans are not ignorant about environmental pollution, but do not follow the laws leading to environmental conservation. They wait until the problem becomes worse and uncontrollable, so as to start acting,” she said.
Sayo noted that this could be clearly observed from dumped used polythene and plastic containers of used water, thrown anywhere and everywhere in towns of Kenya.
“Industrial waste, sewage and domestic waste have been finding their way into major rivers such as the Nairobi River, polluting the water and making it unsuitable for use,” she disclosed.
She blamed agricultural chemicals and pharmaceuticals companies saying that they have also been a major source of pollution in the country, posing serious health effects to human beings, plants and animals.
“Failure to have guidelines on tobacco smoking across the country and industrial smoke also remain a great hindrance to a pollution-free environment,” noted Sayo.
Women and children are dying every year from indoor pollution and sometimes women have no other choices than to work on lands that are polluted by chemicals and waste dumping,” she observed.
“It is critical to conserve river sources not only because of its potential to reduce the ecological impacts of urban life, but also because of its potential to communicate new cultural conceptions of the human relationship to nature,” she said.
“World Cleanup is a great humanitarian endeavor, for our environment, our lives, for generations to come and we are excited to be part of the initiative. Our neighbourhoods are our homes; our homes are our comfort spaces. Due to COVID19, this year’s World Clean Day not only takes place at physical locations but virtually as well,” says Sayo.
Conscious of this year’s reality, COVID19 pandemic, Let’s Do It Kenya adhered to the Ministry of Health and World Health Organization COVID19 prevention guidelines to protect volunteers in the cleanup exercise.
By Yobesh Onwong’a