Recently huge piles of garbage and especially plastic bags were shown almost buried into the Mumbai Beach. This Versova beach clean up was captured by worldwide attention when the UN Patron of the Oceans, Lewis Pugh’s video went viral as he carried kilos of garbage in the clean up.
We probably have not dared to see the garbage around us or have conveniently turned a blind eye. Take an example of your extended family and where they stay, you can easily tell who is environmentally conscious, not at all, or somewhat trying. You have to make a decision now, right here today, who are you going to be to the environment. If this creation has given you abundance and love, why are you scarring it with shit?
In 2009 Washington D.C. enacted a five-cent fee on plastic bags and to date, the use has dropped by 60%. New York approved the similar bill starting 1st October and now it is our turn. Nairobi Governor Dr Evans Kidero announced recently to introduce and hopefully succeed in passing the 2016 Nairobi County Plastic Control Bill. This will clamp down on the terrible use of plastic bags. Here’s a simple day in your life, one shopping trip, buy milk/bread and get one small plastic bag. Imagine in your compound there are a total of 24 apartments and if each of them went shopping per day like that, how many kilos of plastic paper bags pile up by the end of the week? I will let the experts do the Maths, but simply put you are building plastic homes for every shopping trip you are doing.
There is an opportunity for innovation for the new home builders. Being in Africa we are lucky that the weather is more favorable yet we are bent on living like the Westerners. Luxury has a place in every corner but let it not deplete resources. If we are cutting energy bills by using solar panels, then let us make a few other rules mandatory too. These can include 5 trees planted per apartment building (these can be done at a designated site), rain water collection, recycle the water in the compound and stop car washing in the complex and wasting water, and how to dispose the garbage. Have a small recycling plant if the estate is over 100 houses or at least make sure you practice the 4 Rs- Recycle Reuse Reduce and Recover. Make these mandatory for all the home owners and there will be a spill over in the green revolution that will enter corporate spaces, factories and so on.
The buzz right now is that all these tactics are to raise funds for the upcoming General Elections. Unfortunately we have a huge distrust in the accountability of our taxes or any money that is going to the Government. However change must come and if this is the beginning, then let us do it together. Cutting down plastics is no rocket science and saving the environment should be our first priority, otherwise we will become chemicalized human beings operated by robots. The Bill should not be restricted to Nairobi only, let’s go countrywide from the word go, why wait? Other governors from the other counties too should step in and sign up. We already know that putting a “plastic tax” cuts down consumption, so why wait for the hills of Kericho or beaches of Diani so get polluted.
Our environment is precious and 1 shilling on our plastic bag will surely hit the lower middle class, but they should pay the price of the arrogance of the wealth taking advantage of the ignorance of the rest. Everyone needs to boot up and pay up.