Kenya on Friday banned single-use plastics in forest reserves while encouraging adoption of wooden, metallic and reusable plastic containers that are less polluting.
Julius Kamau, chief conservator of forests said in a statement issued in Nairobi that the Kenya Forest Service (KFS) will begin enforcing the national ban on Single-Use Plastics in forest reserves with effect from June 5.
“The ban covers public forests managed by KFS, that comprise 2.59 million hectares and those managed by the County governments and communities that make up 1.7 million hectares,” Kamau said.
He said that KFS has developed guidelines for the implementation of the national ban with an overall goal of contributing to the sustainable management of plastic waste in the country.
“KFS is rolling out programs to educate stakeholders, promote appropriate alternatives to the use of single-use plastics in the forest areas, sensitize communities on the laws and regulations and ensure the ban is fully enforced, “said Kamau.
He said that the use of polythene tubes to grow seedlings in nurseries managed by KFS and other stakeholders will also come to an end.
He said that KFS has developed a transition plan that will guide the use of polythene tubes in tree nurseries, with a policy of reusing and recycling being applied in all forest reserves.
Kamau said that accommodation facilities, nature trails, picnic sites, tree platforms, boardwalks, canopy walks, guided tours, adventure activities, quarry sites, construction sites and installation sites within forest reserves will be subject to the ban on single-use plastic.
The outlawed single-use plastics include disposable plastic water bottles, disposable cutlery, non-woven plastic carrier bags, confectionary and snack wrappers, disposable sanitary items, wet wipes, single use toiletries packaged in plastics.
Dumping waste in a forest without authority is prohibited and any person convicted of this, is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding three million shillings (about 30,000 United States dollars) or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years or both.