23 August 2017

Kenya: Nakuru County Set to Be Major Beneficiary of Plastic Ban

Photo: The Citizen
(file photo).

Nakuru County will be one of the largest beneficiaries once the ban on plastics is effected on August 28.

The county is home to lakes Nakuru, Naivasha, Elementaita and Solai which have been immensely polluted by plastic paper bag waste that flow into the bird-rich lakes leading to an international cry for a decisive action to reverse the trend.

In 2016, Lake Nakuru National Park collected 24 tons of plastic from its lake and rangelands that are grazing grounds for its herbivorous animals among them buffaloes, zebras, warthogs, and the endangered rhinos, while its one million flamingos have been forced to migrate to other counties, adversely affecting tourism numbers.

BIRD SPECIES

The premium park is home to 50 mammal species and more than 450 bird species both in the marine and dry land whose population has reportedly been falling, largely blamed on consumption of plastic waste.

The park's location on the low-end parts of Nakuru has worsened its fate as wind usually blows from the highly placed Menengai Hill region and is next to the populous residential estates that pour their wastes into Ndaragu River the flows freely into Lake Nakuru with all its industrial and domestic wastes.

Lake Nakuru National Park Deputy Warden Mr Harun Sang said the plastic waste has given the world-famous wildlife sanctuary a bad name.

"The litter is an eyesore and the effects have been both direct and indirect on the wildlife," said Mr Sang.

PLASTIC BAN

Mr Sang noted that the ban on use of plastic bags will reduce the cost incurred by the park's management in clearing the hinterlands in order to make them safe for wild animals to graze.

Environmental Cabinet Secretary Judi Wakhungu, speaking during the World Environment Day celebrations at Egerton University in Nakuru in June 2017, said plastic waste had contributed to degradation of the aesthetic beauty of landscapes.

She noted that in 2005, between 500 billion to one trillion single-use plastic bags were consumed annually all over the world.

"In 2010, Kenya alone generated more than 24 million single-use plastic bags. These plastic bags take between 20 and 1,000 years to bio-degrade and thus have a long presence in the environment," she said.

The ban on plastic bags is set to be effective by August 28, 2017.

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