Taking stock ….two years later

Plastic bags should be banned, the level of damage they are causing mother nature is astronomical ; millions continue being produced every day, millions of them get dumped in the wrong places and sadly enough almost zero of them get recycled.In fact comparing plastic bottles and their sisters the plastic bags, more plastic bottles will end up in recycling factories while the bags find their way in our rivers, drains, landfills, lakes and in our animals. This is because plastic bottles are thicker and require little sorting and cleaning unlike the nylon bag.

All that beautiful, ‘’prestigious’’ plastic bag branded Tuskys,Naivas,Nakumatt, Bata etc that we use every day for shopping is a poison to our environment . THINK ABOUT IT.

There are fallacies that we can recycle all plastic bags and that’s what plastic pro lobbies make us believe, while the plain truth is that it’s not economically viable to recycle plastic bags, it’s expensive to recycle them because of their thickness; they are so thin, one will need to collect a bunch of them to make anything worth the hustle, second they are very flimsy, easily carried away by wind and rain which makes it difficult to collect them , sorting them from other trash is a challenge. They are used in most household to store all type of waste -biodegradable waste- like potato peelings, leftover food and other myriad of waste and in most cases inside the bags are other plastic bags mixed with rotting waste that essentially compounds the problem, nobody wants to touch rotting things. It is therefore a very expensive venture to even think of recycling plastic bags. Most would rather collect bigger plastic materials.

When it’s so cheap to produce new plastic bags why would somebody invest in recycling?

Plastic bag is a symbol of environmental wastefulness –what’s the logic behind producing a single use bag that will last for hundreds of years destroying the environment and killing animals on land and in oceans?

Did you know that plastic bags in our drains are habitats for mosquitoes and therefore breeding grounds for malaria, did you know that we spend so much collecting solid waste, 70% being plastic bags that will never be recycled and only lead to filling up our landfills? To somebody who is conscious about the environment, that is a threat to our lives.

Drastic actions including banning plastic bags or at least introducing a direct charge for every bag given to a customer by shopping malls should be introduced, so that shoppers will feel the pinch are reuse more. Scotland introduced a 5p charge for every plastic bag a shopper takes home, the number of plastic bags littering their environment has plummeted since the ban was introduced.

Manufacturers who are the major polluters should be made to track down what they produce, if they argue plastic bags can be recycled they should be in the for front recycling it, otherwise the only viable way to deal with plastic bags is banning them in totality, Rwanda is a perfect example that indeed human beings can comfortably live without a single sheet of these environmental degrading sheaths. Mauritania is the newest country to ban plastic bags; this only shows how dangerous these bags are.

A lot has been said about Nairobi garbage and a lot must be done, Nairobians have for the last few weeks taken to social media to lament, the buck stops with each one of them as it stops with our leadership. Whenever you go to a supermarket ask yourself do you really need that plastic bag, why not just carry your own reusable bag, that way less bags will pollute our environment. Make smart purchasing choices. When buying an item you feel it’s already wrapped, refuse for an extra wrapper; make a habit of carrying your own bag.

Banning plastic bags is a damage control mechanism, we need that speed bump to control the massive amount of plastic pollution, and it’s a scourge. The money spend daily on waste collection will reduce drastically; it will be used for other development projects.

We cannot continue sweeping these issues under the carpet anymore. The government, both county and National have a constitutional role to protect the environment, they should begin enacting implementing environmental protection laws. The society too must embrace better waste management to combat this problem.

One quick question to you, what do you think happens to your shopping bags once they leave your door?Possibly you have no idea; best thing to do is to THINK ABOUT IT

Article first published in January 2016 a year before Kenya banned plastic bags.Source link http://streetnakuru.blogspot.com/2016/01/when-its-so-cheap-to-produce-new.html?m=0

Follow my latest campaign #RethinkPlastics on Twitter @jameswakibia and facebook #jwakibia



James Wakibia

Environmental Activist and Photojournalist. Read my new series of Eco-Interviews here. jameswakibia.com