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Plastic bottles polluting Kenya’s Lake Nakuru comes from foreign firms, report reveals

By Nneka Nwogwugwu

More than a third of plastic bottle waste found in Lake Nakuru comes from foreign multinational companies based in Kenya, a study has revealed.

The plastic waste analysis was conducted within Lake Nakuru National Park’s catchment area. Most of the plastic end up polluting Lake Nakuru National Park.

The analysis comes at a time when pressure is mounting for the multinational companies in Kenya to honour their climate action commitments to increase climate ambition, build resilience and lower emissions and ensure a plastic waste free environment.

The plastic brand audit was done during World clean up day on September 18 by the Nakuru Waste Pickers Association, environmental lobby Ecorethink and the Centre for Environmental Justice and Development (CEJAD).

According to the data generated from 1,048 bottles scanned, 38 per cent came from manufacturers based in the US, India, the United Kingdom, Belgium and Japan while over half were from manufacturers in Kenya and Tanzania.

The team collected discarded single-use plastic bottles using the Wastebase app where waste collectors scanned the barcode of each bottle, instantly uploading data to wastebase.org.

Wastebase is a digital platform developed by UK-based social enterprise, Unwaste.io, which allows environmental activists to organise, map and visualise data about the plastic waste problem in their countries.

The platform instantly collects data from local plastic cleanups and brand audits by environmental Non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

According to the sample collected beverage mainly carbonated soft drinks, followed by drinking water, and with a much smaller proportion of alcoholic beverages contributed more waste than all other sectors combined as it contributed 92 per cent while the rest of the waste came from household and personal care and, cosmetics.

Mr Cameron Smith, Unwaste.io’s managing director, said, “Data has a huge role to play in encouraging adoption of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR). Lake Nakuru is internationally recognised and protected, yet the region is clogged with many thousands of single-use plastic bottles that make their way into the water.

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