Kenya is among few countries in the continent that has taken positive steps towards the management of plastic pollution.
In addition to effecting plastic ban last year, the Government has obliged industry players to self-regulate the management of post-consumer PET bottles in the country. The Kenya PET Recycling Company (PETCO) – a voluntary and independent not-for-profit organization has been established to achieve this objective on behalf of PET bottle packaging sector.
“The industry generates about 20,000 tonnes of plastic wastes per year but only 5 percent or 1,000 tonnes of this is collected and recycled,” Kenya PET Recycling Company Limited, Country Program Manager Ms. Joyce Gachugi said.
Speaking on the sidelines of the Sustainable Blue Economic Conference 2018 at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) in Nairobi, Ms. Gachugi said the organization targets to spearhead the collection and recycling of 20 percent of the plastic wastes by the end of the year.
“Eventually, the target is to collect and recycle 70 percent or 14,000 tonnes of the plastic wastes in the entire country by 2025,” she said.
During the inaugural conference, Kenya pledged to focus on the protection of aquatic resources, adopt policies, strategies and mechanisms to harness blue economy while confronting the challenges of waste management and pollution that are compromising health of people as well as oceans, seas and rivers.
The country committed to ensure responsible and sustainable fishing to conserve endangered fish species and ensure safety and security in high seas for smooth global trade.
PETCO and the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) recently signed an Agreement of Cooperation towards holistic management of PET plastic bottles in the country.
As part of the agreement, manufacturers through KAM and PETCO Kenya have committed to jointly develop strategies, initiatives and infrastructure to ensure efficiency in the collection, processing and recycling of PET plastic bottles in the country; while improving the socio-economic conditions of waste collectors.
Management of water bodies is a global challenge. There is overfishing, acidification, warming, deoxygenation, plastic pollution, counterproductive subsidies – all these factors and many more – play critical roles in the deterioration of marine environments and fish populations.