Kenya joined the world in marking World Environment Day by banning the single-use plastics including bottles and straws in all protected areas and National Parks in Kenya.
This year’s theme “Biodiversity” focuses on demanding action to combat the accelerating loss of species and degradation of nature.
Following a presidential directive in last year’s World Environment Day, the ban came into effect today, 5 June 2020, in National Parks, beaches, forests and conservation areas.
This means that visitors will no longer be able to carry plastic water bottles, cups, disposable plates, cutlery, or straws into protected areas.
The move follows Kenya’s ground-breaking step of a nationwide ban on single-use plastic bags in 2017.
Kenya joins the rest of the world in setting the agenda for the sustainable management of waste in conformity with this year’s World Environment Day theme.
“The preservation of our environment is tied to our well-being and the well-being of future generations. This ban is yet another first in addressing the plastic pollution catastrophe facing Kenya and the world, and we hope that it catalyses similar policies and actions from the East African Community,” Najib Balala, Cabinet Secretary for Tourism and Wildlife, said.
Today on 5th June #WorldEnvironmentDay, the ban of single-use plastics, including bottles and straws will go into effect, in all our Protected areas and National Parks in Kenya. #PlasticFreeParks pic.twitter.com/fXwVokK7M1
— Najib Balala (@tunajibu) June 5, 2020
Plastic pollution is one of the most serious threats to the planet’s health. Single-use plastics are polluting the majority of ecosystems from rainforests to the world’s deepest ocean trench.
When consumed by fish and livestock, plastic waste ends up in our food chain.
By 2050, the UN estimates that there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean unless governments and the private sector promote more resource-efficient design, production, use and sound management of plastics throughout their life cycle.
According to the United Nations, biodiversity involves 8 million plant and animal species.
Within the next 10 years, if things do not change, one out of every four known species may have been wiped off the planet.
— UN Women (@UN_Women) June 5, 2020
This year we mark the World Environment Day during a period when nature is sending us a message – that all is not well.
World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF-Kenya) CEO Mohamed Anwar also on the World Environmental Day said that” all is not lost, together we can reverse this worrying trend and courageously say, It is time for nature and embrace our new normal driven by the will and commitment to end our dangerously imbalanced relationship with nature.”
“With about 75% of all emerging infectious diseases being zoonotic, transmitted to people from animals, Covid-19 is a stark reminder of the current imbalance and demonstrates the interdependence of humans and the webs of life coming in the wake of the locusts’ invasion, the recent floods and landslides.”
“Despite all the benefits that we freely get from nature, unfortunately, we still mistreat it. The reason why we need to continually remind ourselves that nature matters and underpins our very existence and our economies,” Anwar concluded.