19 June 2019

Kenya: Kilifi Mulls Diaper Ban Over Ocean Pollution

Kilifi County is advocating for a total ban on the use of baby diapers, saying it is a major polluter of the oceans.

Mariam Jenneby, the county chief officer for environment and natural resources, said single-use plastics and baby diapers formed a huge part of non-biodegradable waste.

She asked the National Environment Management Authority (Nema) to intervene by putting an end to their use.

"I urge the government and Nema to keep a total ban on single-use plastic products and baby diapers. They have created a hazardous environment in our community," said Ms Jenneby at Kanamai Majengo during the World Combat Desertification Day.

The county environmental experts said tonnes of non-decomposing baby diapers usually find their way to the beach and into the Indian Ocean thereby becoming a threat to marine life.

The ban, she said, will also push parents to go back to the traditional method of using cotton napkins that were environment-friendly.

"Today we have cleaned our town and planted some trees, however, when you look at the dumpsite most of those plastics being dumped are the diapers; Nema should ban them," she added.

To ensure a clean environment, she said, her department has come up with rules and regulations that are awaiting approval at the county assembly to curb illegal dumping in the county.

"We have a bill at the county assembly, which we hope will become law that shall see those dumping garbage illegally arrested and fined not less than Sh15,000."

Tsofa Mweni, an environmental activist on the Coast region, challenged companies making products that contain plastics to use organic materials such as paper.

"I would say more bio-degradable materials should be used to produce the basic products rather than ban the product."

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