NAIROBI, Dec. 4 (Xinhua) -- Kenya has launched a plastic action plan to promote the green growth agenda, an official said on Wednesday.
Mohammed Elmi, chief administrative secretary in the ministry of environment and forestry, told journalists in Nairobi that the private sector-led Kenya Plastic Action Plan is aimed at enabling a circular economy for environmentally sustainable use and recycling of plastics.
"It identifies the specific actions that the public and private sector should undertake to achieve this including waste management at the county level, formation and regulation of extended producer responsibility schemes and establishment of recycling value chains and standards," Elmi said.
The strategy is geared toward keeping most, if not all, of the plastic materials within the productive cycles and out of the environment, he said.
According to the ministry, disposal of plastics at sea has been noted as a significant source of environmental harm, since the materials are both buoyant and persistent and plastic waste is already choking our water bodies and oceans.
Kenyans have an obligation to protect and conserve the environment for the current and future generations, Elmi said.
"Our economic activities must not jeopardize the ecological balance. We must endeavor to build sustainable societies living within the ecological limits," he said.
Elmi said the government has just finalized development of the Sustainable Waste Management Policy and Bill 2019, which aspires to turn Kenya into a zero-waste society.
"When enacted, the two instruments will be used to promote the adoption of a circular economic model which emphasizes efficiency and the adoption of a life-cycle approach to material use," he said.
"The policy challenges the industry to avoid releasing single-use plastics and ensure that they only trade in products that can be reused and recycled," Elmi said.
Kenya introduced a ban on single-use polythene bags in 2017.
Sachen Gudka, chairman of Kenya Association of Manufacturers, said the plastic action plan is an important first step toward sound management and use of plastics in Kenya.
He said that currently less than 10 percent of plastics used in the country is recycled and this provides huge business opportunities for investors interested in entering the recycling sector.