One step closer to disposing of single-use plastics
ALN Kenya has partnered with the Flipflopi Project, a circular economy movement based in East Africa, to introduce a Single Use Plastics Bill which will move East Africa closer to a world without single use production.
There is a pressing need for action to be taken by East African policymakers in order to preserve the health of our economy, environment and people. ALN Kenya has thus partnered with Flipflopi to champion the legislative agenda at anEast African Community (EAC) level through the drafting and introduction of a legislative framework to ban the use and manufacture of specific single-use plastics (SUPs) in the EAC. The bill will be presented before the EAC Legislative Assembly for consideration.
ALN Kenya also assisted Flipflopi with thereport on, “State of Affairs: Policies, Regulations and Laws that Address the Harmful Effects of Single-Use Plastics in the East African Community (2021)”. It summarises all the environmental laws with relation to SUPs within the EAC to showcase the progress that has been made over the years by each of the EAC member states.
As the EAC economies grow, there is a great opportunity to rethink single-use plastics and recycling. So far the EAC member states have each taken legislative action with regard to certain SUP items (mainly plastic bags) in order to reduce the detrimental effects of plastic litter. These states have already come together to pass the Polythene Material Controls Bill at the EAC Legislative Assembly level, although it has not yet been signed into law.
Some member states have additional bans on various plastics, while in other states organisations have actively lobbied against the ban on plastic bags. Unfortunately the application of policy frameworks is complex and there has been inconsistent enforcement of the bans across EAC partner states.
Overall, there is still a need to synchronise the implementation of environmental policies across the EAC to prevent the cross-border movement of plastics and to successfully fight against overall plastic pollution. Legislative action is also needed to address the manufacture, importation, use and sale of all the unnecessary SUPs that cause the most harm to the environment at a regional level.
The proposed Single Use Plastics Bill aims to provide a legal framework for the preservation of a clean and healthy environment in the EAC member states, by prohibiting the manufacturing, use and importation of certain SUPs across the EAC.
The Bill also seeks to address several other environmental issues, including preserving a clean environment for sustainable development by promoting the use of sustainable and non-toxic reusable products and reuse systems in place of single-use plastic products, and reducing the quantity of waste generated in the EAC. The end goal in the implementation of the Single Use Plastics Bill is to synchronise legislation across an environmentally conscious EAC.
Adopting this bill will bring numerous benefits. For a start, implementing a collective ban on SUPs will allow the EAC to be branded as a green and clean standard setter. A cleaner environment will also promote tourism sectors in EAC member states, improving the state of attractions and other natural resources. New industries dealing with waste management and the reuse and recycling of current plastic pollution will provide jobs, investment and economic output within the sectors.
Opposition to the Single Use Plastics Bill is bound to occur as it could impact the livelihoods of manufacturers and small local businesses. However, through switching to biodegradable and recyclable alternatives, manufacturers will be able to meet demand while maintaining employment and focusing on the well-being of the environment.
To join Africa Legal's mailing list please clickhere
Copyright : Re-publication of this article is authorised only in the following circumstances; the writer and Africa Legal are both recognised as the author and the website address www.africa-legal.com and original article link are back linked. A bio for the writer can be provided on request.