Nema announces transition to use of biodegradable garbage bags - Breaking Kenya News

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Nema announces transition to use of biodegradable garbage bags

 

Nema announces transition from plastic bags to biodegradable bags 

It is now illegal to use conventional plastic bags or bin liners to collect organic waste.

This follows the expiry of a 90-day period issued by National Environment Management Authority on Monday.

Nema said there is a need to transition to using biodegradable garbage bags for organic waste collection.

On April 8, the authority issued a public notice directing that all organic waste generated by households and all public and private institutions be segregated and placed in 100 per cent biodegradable garbage bags or bin liners.

“The waste collected shall be collected separately (not mixed with other waste types) and transported to a designated material recovery facility for further processing,” said director general Mamo Mamo.

“All county governments and private waste service providers licensed by Nema are required to provide to their clients the 100 per cent biodegradable garbage bags/bins liners only.”

Nema is riding on the momentum gained by the 2017 ban on the manufacture, importation and use of plastic carrier bags and flat bags used for commercial and household packaging.

The Sustainable Waste Management Act 2022 is seeking to transition the country from a linear to a circular economy.

The law was enacted on July 6, 2022.

It has provisions that seek to promote sustainable waste management and improve the health of Kenyans.

This is done by ensuring a clean and healthy environment.

Under the circular economy concept, resources are reused and recycled to minimise waste and maximise efficiency.

Following the ban on plastics, state introduced harsh measures to protect the environment and health of citizens.

Today, being found in possession of such plastics attracts a fine of Sh2 million to Sh4 million and a jail term of one to two years, or both.

Before 2017, about 100 million non-biodegradable plastic bags were used in Kenyan supermarkets every year.

Despite the ban, some plastics are still being found in Kenyan markets.

On June 5, 2019, Kenya banned single-use plastics on beaches, national parks, forests and conservation areas.

The ban prohibits visitors from carrying single-use plastic water bottles, disposable cups, plates, cutlery and straws into national parks, forests, beaches and conservation areas.

Section 12 of the Sustainable Waste Management Act, 2022 says all public and private sector entities shall segregate non-hazardous waste into organic and nonorganic fractions.

The segregated waste must be placed in properly labelled and colour-coded receptacles, bins, containers and bags.

“All waste service providers shall collect, handle and transport segregated waste as provided for under this Act. Hazardous waste will be handled and managed as prescribed by the Environmental Management and Coordination Act, 1999 and any other relevant written law,” the Act says.

It warns that a waste service provider who contravenes the provisions of this section commits an offence and shall, on conviction, be liable to a fine not exceeding Sh50,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or both.

Nema says there are 14,959 waste transporters registered by the authority to deal with different types of waste.

A person who does not manage waste by the Act commits an offence and will upon conviction, be liable to a fine not exceeding Sh20,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or both.

Segregating wastes makes sorting, recycling, reusing and reducing waste easier. Much less goes into landfills.

Under the new plan, five per cent of the waste will be incinerated, 30 per cent recycled and 60 per cent turned into manure.

Only five per cent will go to landfills. 

The Act says the Cabinet Secretary shall, in consultation with the authority and county governments Gazette the National Color Coding System for waste management.

The Act has also introduced a concept known as Extended Producer Responsibility that mandates companies to be responsible for polluting the environment.

EPR holds producers of goods responsible for polluting the environment.

This is a departure from the past when members of the public were solely held responsible for littering.


by GILBERT KOECH

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