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Plastic Waste? Why Kenya and the rest of the world need to act now!!

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Have you ever asked yourself where does the Plastic bag that you dispose of at the dustbin go? Or have you ever asked yourself how many plastic bags do you use annually? Yes! That’s you. Now do the Math with Over 7 billion people in the Planet.

Plastic waste in now a global challenge. But before we declare it a global challenge, we need to ask ourselves what is plastic? Plastic is a material consisting of any of a wide range of synthetic or semi-synthetic organic compounds that are malleable and can be molded into solid objects. (Source; Wikipedia). Why is Plastic Preferred? Plastic is durable, easy to manufacture and it’s cheap. However the disadvantages of Plastics outrageously outweigh the benefits.

Below are some of the common household items that are made of Plastics.

Water Bottles, CDs, Straws, Packaging Bags etc.

Photos courtesy of Google.

Disposing of plastics has become a challenge where plastic waste is ending up in our seas or in our soils through Landfills. Now for you to understand that this issue of plastic waste is a global challenge, here are terrifying statistics you need to know about Plastics:

  1. In Kenya alone, over 24 million plastic bags are used monthly, half of which end up in the solid waste mainstream. Plastic bags now constitute the biggest challenge to solid waste management in the country.
  2. Globally, 10% of the plastic we use yearly end up in the ocean. That’s equivalent to 700 billion plastic bottles!
  3. The production of plastic uses around 8% of the world’s oil production.
  4. 90% of the trash floating in our oceans is made of plastic, around 46,000 pieces per square mile.
  5. Plastic is made from petroleum.
  6. Some of the components used to make plastic like phthalates and bisphenol A are harmful to our health. They have been proven to cause been proved to cause cancer, birth defects, impaired immunity, endocrine disruption and other ailments.

Today’s article was just a brief introduction on the issue of Plastic waste just to start a conversation among ourselves. In the subsequent articles we will be looking at the interventions being done to manage plastic waste, Proposed Legislation, Global Best Practices and most importantly how GIS(Geographic information Systems) can be used to Manage, inform and sensitize global citizens on the Plastic Waste issue.

Meanwhile you can participate in the Clean Seas Challenge (Turning the tide on Plastic) https://cleanseas.org/photo-competition-signup

Photo taken at the United Nations Offices Nairobi,Kenya (UNON,Gigiri)

References;

Plastic Waste Facts; http://www.theworldcounts.com/stories/Plastic-Waste-Facts

The Greenbelt Movement; Plastic Waste, a Menace in Rural and Urban Kenya.