As the country strives to mitigate the adverse impacts of climate change that has affected the whole world, the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) has scaled up efforts to ensure clean environment by conducting operations to ensure people observe the plastic bags ban imposed on 28th February 2017 and also ensuring that they apply the Effluent Discharge Licence (EDL) to guarantee that the waste they discharge from their outlets like petrol stations, hotels and others is treated and does not pose any health hazard to the environment.
Speaking to KNA when she led the Rapid Response Initiative team and security officers in an operation to ensure plastic bags ban and the Effluent Discharge Licence (EDL) adherence in Uasin Gishu, NEMA Regional Director of Environment for Nairobi and Rift Valley, Ann Awino said there was need to sensitize people on the use of the banned plastics.
“The exercise we are carrying out today is on the control of the banned plastics and to alert people that they need to apply for Effluent Discharge Licence for the facilities which are discharging waste to the environment like the hotels, petrol stations and others, they need to know that they should renew their licences by January 1. The application process is online,” said Awino.
In the operation, the authority was able to arrest two culprits from bakeries, and shops with 8805 pieces of plastic bags and other 3 from filling stations who had not conformed to NEMA regulations.
The Regional Environmental Director further alluded that people should consider stopping the use of plastic bags because of the hazard it poses to the environment owing to its non-biodegradable nature adding that the authority had been keen to stop illegal smuggling of the products through porous borders into the country.
“They will destroy the environment forever, one may use one today and 100 years later it would still be there, that means we will have a dirty environment just because of somebody’s business interest, we need to be clean and clear of plastics, we should have materials that can break down to reduce pollution,” she added.
She noted that the Rapid Response Initiative team had received numerous reports from the public that there was increased use of the illegal products, adding that plastic bags had become one of the most used illegal products in the country which find way into the country through porous borders and sold to buyers within the local shop outlets.
“We want to maintain a clean environment forever, this the responsibility which is one of the constitutional rights, a clean and healthy environment for all. We can only achieve that if people can manage to stop using them,” alluded Awino.
NEMA, being the principal instrument of government in implementation of all policies relating to the environment, has been at the forefront to ensure a clean environment in Kenya through supervision of all matters relating to the environment as mandated by the Environment Management and Coordination Act (EMCA) of 1999.
By Ekuwam Sylvester and Elizabeth Wangari