By HENRY OWINO
The African continent has become a world leader in phasing out plastic bags. Nowadays visitors coming to Africa are advised to avoid packing or carrying any plastic bags as they would have to leave these at a designated desk in the airport.
However, following the documents obtained by Unearthed, Greenpeace’s Investigative Journalism Platform based in USA through the Freedom of Information Act and circulated to media houses, in just a day, nearly 4000 people have expressed concern about the matter.
The news was first broken in an article published in the New York Times picked up by several other media houses across the world. It reveals how lobbyists from the American Chemistry Council (ACC) want to use the US-Kenya trade deal to expand plastic in Africa.
Greenpeace Africa is opposed to the move by the ACC as it threatens the progress made by Kenya and other countries across Africa on plastic pollution. Increased plastic pollution will not only hurt our environment, but also vulnerable communities already disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Greenpeace Africa is tasking the Kenya Cabinet Secretary for Trade to consider this public outcry, if and when the Kenyan government is faced with the stringent trade negotiation terms.
Betty Maina, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Industrialization, Trade and Enterprise Development has stated that Kenya will not accept any proposal that go against the country’s environmental laws in the trade negotiations with the United States of America.
Responding to these developments, Greenpeace Africa’s Senior Political Advisor, Fredrick Njehu has said: “The plastics industry continues to play both sides, touting flashy initiatives like the Alliance to End Plastic Waste publicly, but working behind the scenes to use low and middle income countries as their dumping sites. CS Betty Maina must live up to that commitment.”
“The proponents of single-use plastics continue to make an argument for recycling as a solution to curb the pollution crisis. This is unsustainable as only around 9% of plastic waste actually gets recycled, while the rest is burned, landfilled, or polluting our environment. Greenpeace Africa urges the Ministry of Trade to say no to this deal.”
The organization known for protecting biodiversity is urging the CS Maina not to let Kenya act as an entry point to Africa a dumping site.