Wakibia goes global with his campaign on ending plastic pollution

For many years clean-up exercises have been carried out on rivers in Nakuru such as River Njoro and River Ndarugu.
The exercises are done to aid unchoke the rivers from the plastic waste that always find their ways into the environment.
However, environmental activists have continued to querry on such moves and solutions that can be done to aid the same.
Nakuru based Environmental activist James Wakibia states, “rivers do not produce plastics and cleaning them
therefore will not end pollution. We need to address the source of the problem and that is from the source.”
He is however quick to note that such cleanup exercises should not stop, but there is need for effort in finding
sustainable ways to end plastic pollution.
“I have led various clean-up activities, and frankly speaking, cleanups are like administering first aid to an injured person. We clean today and the plastics keep flowing and accumulating,” he says.
Wakibia who successfully spearheaded the ban on Plastic bags in Kenya is now going global with his campaign against plastics polution.
Through his collaboration with Portsmouth University Revolution Plastics, the Nakuru’s Rongai born son is now making it to the Global World.
Wakibia who has matters environment at heart is among delegates attending international conference in United Kingdom’s  University of Portsmouth.
In his speech at the conference on Revolution Plastics, Wakibia stated that the conference is key in coming up with solutions to end plastic pollution.
“This is coming at a time when the world is making attempts to put an end to plastic pollution, I would say that this conference is very timely. A Lot of research has been done and I think if there was a better time to put in place laws and policies to curb plastic pollution that would be now,” he said.
The plastic waste campaigner opines that the society is  now on the right track in the war against plastic pollution.
Having documented over the last 12 years, Wakibia told the participants that he started out around 2011, mostly because he was unhappy seeing a polluted environment, but he never thought he would end up being an activist.
“The first time I wrote an opinion
about the solid waste problem, I highlighted the need to ban plastic bags and improve recycling rate in Kenya. I was particularly disturbed by plastic bags in the streets, drains, on tree branches,” he says.

However, he admits that the journey against plastic pollution has been a long one; from being just a normal citizen irked by scenes of pollution to being an activist championing for change.

He adds that it has been a journey of many ups and downs.
What however makes him happy is that the World has  begun waking up to the realization of the problem of plastic and the need to come up with a global legally binding instrument- a plastics treaty.
“It also gives me great pleasure that we are seated here at Portsmouth University through the work being done by Revolution Plastics and other stakeholders to provide solutions to plastic pollution; both what we can see and what we cannot, like the micro plastics and chemicals,” he said.
He urges young people to embrace social media as a powerful tool to communicate world problems.
And with Nakuru being the youngest city in Kenya, Wakibia notes that the biggest drawback in plastic pollution menace address is greed by the petrochemical industries who just want to go on unabated to churn plastic they already know cannot be recycled and which contains toxic chemical additives.
This even as global statistics indicate that more and more plastics are produced every day with the world currently producing an estimated 400 billion tonnes of plastic annually.
Half of these are single use plastic which are dumped after being used just once. Only 10% of these billions of tons finds their way into recycling plants, which means that billions of tons are dumped in the environment or left in landfills, and recycling is not as portrayed by producers.

Wakibia used his speech at the conference to express the need to call everyone out, starting with the producers of plastics, those who package their products in plastics down to the consumers.

He was however quick to note that the
biggest responsibility must be borne by the polluting

“As we continue to talk of ending plastic pollution, we need to close the tap and maximize on the maximum recovery of recyclable materials. Proper waste management systems should make this possible, unfortunately plastics exacerbates solid waste problem in struggling economies,” he said.

Wakibia revealed in Kenya, guidelines are currently being set up to provide a framework of how EPR will be operationalized through a new sustainable waste management act.
This is yet another milestone after the ban on single use plastics in 2017.
In the new law, Manufacturers will be forced to belong to a producer responsibility organization that will be mandated by law to address the end of life of their products-This may see less waste ending up in the natural environment and more of it being put to a circular economy.
More and more countries should aim for sustainable solutions to end plastic pollution because plastic has proven to be very vigilant in fighting back.

“Our environment is already swamped with plastics. As The Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee deliberates on the details of a plastics treaty, I want a plastic treaty that will not only cut down on production of virgin plastic, but one that will address plastics already in the environment. It must provide finance for restoration of already polluted environments. Unless we change how we produce, use and dispose of plastic, the amount of plastic waste entering aquatic ecosystems could nearly triple by 2040. How does it get there? A lot of it comes from the world and rivers, which serve as direct conduits of trash into lakes and the ocean,” he said.

error: Content is protected !!