The Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) on Friday launched a Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) sector group through a clean-up exercise of PET products at Uhuru Park, Nairobi. The clean-up exercise is in line with the industry’s commitment to manage solid waste in the country as a global best-practice. The PET sector group has partnered with the government to kick off an advocacy and PET recycling initiative.
This is a win-win initiative between KAM and industry stakeholders that will ensure the industry works hand in hand with the government to ensure there is a sustainable solution for all parties. The sector group has adopted the successful PETCO South Africa model which runs an industry driven and financed environmental solution for post-consumer PET plastic. The model provides a solution for post-consumer plastic packaging which is critical in minimising its impact on the environment.
Environment and Natural Resources Cabinet Secretary Prof Judi Wakhungu, who was the guest of honour, stated: “With the ban of the manufacture, sale or use of carrier and flat plastic bags, we have seen the nation make great strides towards environmental conservation. I wish to commend the industry’s role in championing and executing environmental conservation strategies, your efforts and proactive nature cannot be gainsaid.”
She added: “We are proud of this achievement which has inspired other countries to join us in our journey. We continue to consult with our regional and international stakeholders to ensure our efforts follow best practices.”
Due to its unrivalled functional properties and low costs, plastic is an integral and important part of the global economy and is used almost everywhere by everyone. Plastics are used across the global economy and serve as a key enabler for various sectors ranging from packaging, construction, transportation, healthcare and electronics. In Kenya, there is a total of 176 plastics manufacturing companies actively contributing to the GDP – in 2016, the plastics industry in Kenya generated a turnover of Ksh 100 billion and not only employed over 60,000 people.
KAM chairperson Flora Mutahi said: “We wish to thank the Ministry of Environment and its entities for walking with us in this journey, it has not been a walk in the park for the industry but the we have made great strides in tackling the issue of waste management. However, waste management cannot be dealt with in isolation, it is a global challenge, that requires all of us to create sustainable measures to deal with the menace.
She added: “The industry embraces the circular economy concept and is looking out for various ways to support the creation of an effective after-use plastics economy. Packaging is integral to the delivery of safe, high-quality consumer products. We recognise the need to create new circular systems that conserve resources, reduce pollution and promote efficiency. I encourage Kenyans to embrace proper disposal habits, particularly of PET bottles which are mainly littered along the roads, in water bodies and public areas. The clean-up exercise is one of the initiatives that we have put in place to mitigate the challenges that we face with waste management.”
The clean-up comes barely a week after the recently concluded third annual United Nations Environmental Assembly (UNEA) whose theme was ‘towards a pollution free planet’; a clear indication of what different stakeholders in partnership with the Ministry of Environment have been working towards achieving.