The plan, dubbed Kenya Plastic Action Plan, is a private sector-led Policy and Action Plan that seeks to enable a circular economy for the environmentally sustainable use and recycling of plastics in Kenya.
According to a statement from the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) the plan identifies specific actions that the public and private sector should undertake to achieve a circular economy. This includes waste management at the county level, formation and regulation of Extended Producer Responsibility schemes and establishment of recycling value chains and standards.
Speaking during the launch, Environment Chief Administrative Secretary, Mr Mohamed Elmi noted that the government is keen on driving Kenya into a zero-waste management policy.
Kenya has a growing human population and an increase in urbanization. The urban centers have attracted a large population of informal settlements dwellers and the middle class. This urbanization and increased affluence has led to increased waste generation and complexity of the waste streams.
This trend is compounded by growing industrialization of the Kenyan economy. Despite the existence of laws and policies guiding waste management, weak implementation and poor practices have led to towns and cities being overwhelmed by their own waste, consequently affecting public health and the environment.
Over the years waste management has been the mandate of the local Authorities. However, most local authorities did not prioritize the establishment of proper waste management systems and hence allocated meager resources for its management. Further the councils lacked technical and institutional capacities to manage waste. This has led to the current poor state of waste management which includes indiscriminate dumping, uncollected waste and lack of waste segregation across the country.
“Our economic activities need not jeopardize the ecological balance. The Ministry of Environment and Forestry aspires to turn Kenya into a zero-waste society. The Kenya Plastic Action Plan is an important first step towards this. I commend KAM for being proactive and urge the private sector to continue working with the government to create a circular economy in the country,” remarked CAS Elmi.
Also at the event, KAM Chair Sachen Gudka noted that local manufacturers are now beginning to apply circular economy in their operations as they seek to promote sustainable waste management.
“The role of the manufacturing sector in the circular economy rests in sustainable waste management and Extended Producer Responsibility Schemes. A huge opportunity remains in the development of a waste management and recycling industry in Kenya that would contribute to the Big 4 Agenda,” said Mr Gudka.
The KAM Chair added that the plan will set the pace for proper management of all waste in the country.
“The Action Plan identifies the specific actions that the public and private sector should undertake to achieve a circular economy. Circular economy aims to eradicate waste—not just from manufacturing processes, as lean management aspires to do, but systematically, throughout the life cycles and uses of products and their components.
We visualize that the Plan will set the pace for the proper management of all other wastes in the country through proper disposal, segregation and recycling, hence promoting a circular economy,” Mr Gudka concluded.
National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) Ag. Director-General, Mr Mamo B. Mamo noted that a clean environment is everyone’s responsibility and that public-private partnerships are key to achieving a circular economy.
“We shall continue to engage our partners and stakeholders as we seek to tackle plastic waste. This calls for innovation and shared vision, which the Kenya Plastic Action Plan seeks to achieve. We need to turn challenges into opportunities and set a global example for plastic waste management,” said Mr Mamo.
KAM is also a signatory of the Oceans Plastics Charter, which is a commitment to sustainable design, production and after-use markets, plastic collection management and other systems infrastructure through Extended Producer Responsibility schemes and supporting research and innovation and new technologies.
According to a study on awareness on environmentally sound solid waste management by communities and municipalities in Kenya by Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), key milestones have been achieved in formulation of laws and regulations on solid waste management in Kenya by National and County Governments.
“However, these laws have not been streamlined with the requirements of the Stockholm Convention particularly to stop open burning of waste.” The report adds.