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How To Dispose Trash Without Plastic Garbage Bags To Avoid Kshs 20K Fine

The National Environmental Management Authority(NEMA) on Monday, July 8 announced that Kenyans are now mandated to separate waste into organic and non-organic trash and that plastic garbage bags are not to be used for the same.

Faulters of this directive are punishable by law, facing a Kshs 20,000 fine or a six-month imprisonment or both.

“A person who does not manage waste in accordance with subsection (1) commits an offence and shall, on conviction, be liable to a fine not exceeding twenty thousand shillings or imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or both,” read the Sustainable Waste Management Act of 2022.

In light of the ban on plastic garbage bags and bin liners, it is important to understand proper waste segregation techniques and management to prevent contamination and reduce our overall dependence on plastic.

1. Use Biodegradable Bags
NEMA announced that the ban on plastic garbage bags will be enforced more rigorously effective Monday, July 8, and individuals and garbage collection companies are required to use biodegradable bags.

County governments which are tasked with garbage collection are also mandated to provide biodegradable trash bags.

These bags are made of material that breaks down naturally such as manila hemp, paper or cornstarch. They take three to six months to fully decompose.

2. Have three separate indoor bins
To manage household trash easily, it is advisable to keep three waste bins to help in the separation of the waste.

The first bin is for wet and biodegradable waste which breaks down naturally which is mostly kitchen waste such as peels and vegetables.

The second bin is for dry waste, which does not naturally decompose. This includes glass, metal or plastic and can be stored for long periods without fear of smell.

The third bin is for sanitary waste which involves materials such as diapers, sanitary towels, and medical waste such as used gauze and syringes. This type of waste demands safe wrapping to avoid contamination while being handled.

3. Composting
After separating the trash, setting up a simple compost unit at home for biodegradable waste is advised. You can also set up a common unit to share with your neighbours where you can place all organic waste that is cooked or uncooked. It is important to keep the moisture in check to avoid smells that could emanate from the unit.

4. Line your garbage bin with old newspapers
Old newspapers could be repurposed and used to line trash bins as they help absorb moisture and can be composted with organic waste.

5. Reuse and Recycle
This may sound cliche but is a necessary move to rid yourself of plastic trash bags. It is advisable to reusable bins made of metal, glass or sturdy plastic for the collection and transportation of waste and other biodegradable waste.

6. Reduce Waste
Focus on reducing waste by buying in bulk, choosing products with minimal packaging, and reusing or recycling items as much as possible. An example could be the bundling up of small wrappers from toiletries to dispose of later rather than throwing them away every single day.

NEMA’s new directive plans to ensure that the challenge of garbage disposal that is still prevalent especially in informal settlements is tackled expeditiously, encouraging Kenyans to switch to more sustainable options in their waste management.

Through the enforcement of the law, the environmental authority is aiming to have Kenya comply with international environmental sustainability standards.