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Plastic bag/material has been a big challenge in terms of managing it as waste and has contributed to climate change in many ways.



Recently Kenya announced a ban on a ban on the use, manufacture and importation of all plastic bags used for commercial and household packaging by 28th August, 2017. This is a great move towards combating climate change by reducing the amount non-degradable polythene materials in our environment and for being a big menace for a long time in the developing world.This raises a lot of questions despite the positive impact that comes with the ban: 

  1. Will the cost of basic commodities increase/decrease?
  2. Will the manufactures close shop? In Kenya there are about 176 plastic manufacturing companies (as cited in
  3. Will they shift to eco-friendly packages? The cost implications? Will they require new machinery? What raw material will they need?
  4. What will be used to pack the commodities currently packaged using polythene?
  5. What will I carry my shopping with?


Polythene bags have been used for a very long time for many purposes. Most commodities- sugar, salt, bread, groceries…name them are packed in polythene paper at the shops and supermarkets. Additional, polythene bags are the most used carrying bag after doing shopping and they all end up in our litter bins, dumpsites and in open places due to improper waste disposal sites and mechanism. on the other hand it is also a source of income for the manufacturers and retailers.

Ignorance, negligence and lack of awareness on proper waste management is another big challenge that has brought about the polythene menace that has led to blockage of drainages, unsightly scenes on our beautiful country, plant and animal suffocation and degradation of soil fertility.

Is this proposal for a practice or a project?


What actions do you propose?

 By looking at the following ideas, we will be able to conquer the plastic waste hence combat climate change;

  1. Device a working waste management mechanism
  2. Instill waste segregation at source for easy management. 
  3. Raise awareness on proper waste management to the public
  4. Governments to Allocate adequate resources towards this course
  5. Implement the regulations on waste management to the later.
  6. Bring in innovative ideas on plastic waste conversation to usable commodities

Who will take these actions?

The following need to be involved in this process;

  1. The National Governments-Allocate adequate budget, Provide the necessary resources, implement the regulations, educate the public
  2. National Environment Management Authority (NEMA)- Kenya: To Implement the regulations to the later, advise on the working waste management technologies, raise awareness on proper Waste management
  3. County Governments- Develop county clean up activities to remove the already dumped plastic/polythene waste and work with NEMA in properly disposing them.
  4. The general public: Practice proper waste management
  5. Manufacturers: manufacture Eco-friendly carrying  and packaging bags
  6. Proposal Author: Given a chance, become part of the enforcement team through awareness creation and training 

Where will these actions be taken?

These actions will be undertaken by above listed bodies across the country especially in the towns and cities where the population is high. this can also apply to other countries facing the same problem.

In addition, specify the country or countries where these actions will be taken.


Country 2

No country selected

Country 3

No country selected

Country 4

No country selected

Country 5

No country selected


What impact will these actions have on greenhouse gas emissions and/or adapting to climate change?

What are other key benefits?

  1. A step towards achieving MDG 7 on ensuring environmental sustainability and SDG 13 on climate action
  2. Growth in economy due to reduced expenses in health, cleaning and unblocking of drainage e.t.c.
  3. Aesthetics - with reduced/elimination of polythene bags and proper management, there will a clean environment and a beautiful scene of the country.
  4. Increased productivity among farmers due to reduced suffocation by polythene bags and also increase fertility of the soil.
  5. New usable commodities from recycled polythene materials


What are the proposal’s projected costs?

The negative effects of this proposal will mainly be on the manufacturers and importers of the polythene bags and materials. this may also affect the price of some commodities that are usually packaged in polythene hence affecting the common man. The shoppers will have to incur a higher cost of purchasing new shopping bags many of which are smaller and almost double the price of polythene bags.


The ban will have an impact a few months into the implementation of the ban and will be mainly the negative impact as stated above.

Short-term Impact

  1. The ban will bring back the glory of Kenya in its nature and natural resources,” Judy Wakhungu, Environment Cabinet Secretary, Kenya
  2. Reduced growth in Economy

Medium Term

  1. Aesthetics-reduced unsightly scenes in the beautiful country of Kenya
  2. Combating Climate Change
  3. Reduced green gas emissions
  4. Economy starts to grow
  5. increased crop productivity
  6. A step in achieving MDG 7 and SDG 13

Long term 

  1. Clean environment
  2. Beautiful scenery
  3. Growing economy
  4. Reduced flooding as a result of blocked water channels by polythene/plastic wastes
  5. Contribution to combating climate change

About the author(s)

1. Eleen Korir: Master of Public Health, Bsc. Environmental Health, 

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