Kenya: Plastic bottles polluting Lake Nakuru come from foreign companies – Report

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More than a third of plastic bottle waste found in Nakuru comes from foreign multinational companies based in Kenya, a study found.

The analysis of plastic waste was carried out in the watershed of Lake Nakuru National Park. Most plastics end up polluting Lake Nakuru National Park.

The analysis comes at a time of mounting pressure for multinational companies in Kenya to deliver on their climate action commitments to increase climate ambition, build resilience and reduce emissions and ensure a plastic waste-free environment.

The plastic brand audit was carried out on World Cleanup Day on September 18 by the Nakuru Waste Pickers Association, the environmental lobby Ecorethink, and the Center for Environmental Justice and Development (CEJAD).

According to data generated from 1,048 scanned bottles, 38 percent came from manufacturers based in the United States, India, United Kingdom, Belgium and Japan, while more than half came from manufacturers in Kenya and in Tanzania.

Disposable plastic bottles

The team collected discarded single-use plastic bottles using the Wastebase app where waste collectors scanned the barcode of each bottle, instantly uploading the data to wastebase.org.

Wastebase is a digital platform developed by UK social enterprise Unwaste.io, which enables environmental activists to organize, map and visualize data on the plastic waste problem in their country.

The platform instantly collects data from local plastic cleanings and brand audits performed by environmental non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

Alcoholic beverages

According to the collected sample, beverages, mainly carbonated drinks, followed by drinking water, and with a much lower proportion of alcoholic beverages, contributed more waste than all other sectors combined, as they contributed to 92% while the rest of the waste came from households and individuals. care and cosmetics.

Mr. Cameron Smith, Managing Director of Unwaste.io, said: “Data has a huge role to play in driving the adoption of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR). Lake Nakuru is internationally recognized and protected, but the area is crowded with several thousand plastic bottles that end up in the water.

He added, “Working with trusted partners who know their region provides us with credible and valuable data to encourage everyone, including beverage producers, to take responsibility for their post-consumer plastic bottles. “

300 bottles

The data showed that regional soft drink brand Azam accounted for nearly 300 bottles, while brands owned by the Coca-Cola company (such as Sprite, Fanta) made up 44% of the total.

However, Coca-Cola Company, in its 2020 Business and Environmental Social and Governance report, stated that it is committed to taking responsibility to help solve the global packaging waste crisis by collecting and recycling a bottle or one can for every product sold by 2030.

Coca-Cola says that based on 2020 collection rates, it has so far recorded 72% of collection rate and 61% of refillable packaging in Kenya.

“Our design is to make 100% of our packaging recyclable globally by 2025 and to use at least 50% recycled material in our packaging by 2030, to collect and recycle one bottle or can for each bottle that we sell by 2030, ”said Coca-Cola Report.

Waste crisis

He added: “We have a responsibility to help solve the global packaging waste crisis. That’s why, in 2018, we launched an ambitious sustainable packaging initiative called World Without Waste.

A report from the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and Bangor University demonstrates links between plastic pollution and the climate crisis, and explores the role of plastic disposal, mismanaged waste and degradation.

“Plastic pollution and climate change have generally been treated as two separate issues and are sometimes even seen as competing. Here we present an alternative view that these two issues are fundamentally linked. We mainly explore how plastic contributes to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. from the beginning to the end of its life cycle, ”the report states.

“Second, we show that more extreme weather conditions and flooding associated with climate change will worsen the spread of plastic in the natural environment. Finally, both problems occur throughout the marine environment, and we show that ecosystems and species may be particularly vulnerable to both, such as coral reefs which face diseases spread by plastic pollution and increasing global climate-related bleaching events, ”the report added.

Kenya is preparing to participate in the next United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) 2021 organized by the United Kingdom in partnership with Italy from October 31 to November 12, 2021, at the Scottish Event Campus (SEC) in Glasgow , in Scotland.

Mr. James Wakibia, environmental activist and photojournalist, said the new app is a big win for the environment because the app allows consumers to get a true picture of companies that wrap their drinks and water in plastic and this will push them to be more responsible when it comes to managing the end of life of their products.

“I think our government has registered far too many water companies that use plastic bottles. We must reduce the number of these companies if they are not responsible. It is ridiculous that we have registered over 180 companies in Nakuru that throw away plastics without being responsible. This madness must stop, “he added.

Mr. Griffins Ochieng, Executive Director of CEJAD, said: “Before, we used to work on paper and had groups to share information about plastic waste between us. It will be very useful for wider sharing. Soon we will be using it in the field during our next brand audits. “

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