The existing ban on plastic bags use in the country has greatly improved cleanliness in all major towns and villages in the Lamu Archipelago.
Lamu County Tourism and Industrialisation Executive Dismas Mwasambu told Sunday Nation on Friday that, ever since the move was introduced, Lamu Old Town, Shela, Matondoni, Kipungani, Kiwayu and Mkokoni beach towns are now clean thus attracting a large number of tourists.
The ban came into effect on August 28, 2017 following its imposition by the National Environmental Management Authority (Nema) with the goal of ensuring safer and cleaner environments.
Mr Mwasambu said the Indian Ocean, which was chocking from all manner of plastic waste, is now cleaner.
“I am happy that since the plastic bags use ban was imposed in 2017, it has contributed to improved cleanliness on our beaches and even all the major tourist attraction towns including Lamu Old Town, Shela, Matondoni, Kipungani, Kiwayu, Mkokoni and the rest. We have recently experienced huge numbers of international tourists visiting the region, mainly because they are just fascinated with our level of cleanliness,” said Mr Mwasambu.
Amu Division Assistant County Commissioner Philip Oloo called on Lamu environment office to be at the forefront in ensuring continued adherence to the ban.
Mr Oloo said plastic waste can affect not only marine life but also lives of residents and the economy.
“People here in Lamu accepted the ban and simply adapted, coping without plastic bags. They understand how bad the plastics have been. Our towns are now clean and we encourage tourists both domestic and international to visit Lamu,” said Mr Oloo.
He said, “As for the environment office in Lamu, we are ready to co-operate with you in ensuring environmental cleanliness is maintained. We are ready to provide enforcement officers to help do so if need be.”
A month ago, residents in Lamu lauded the ban on plastic bags, saying it had reduced the number of related donkeys deaths.
Before the ban was imposed, many donkeys in Lamu had reportedly been dying after consuming plastic bags strewn all over dump sites and other public places where they graze.
“Our donkeys don’t eat plastic bags anymore and that means they don’t die like they use to and we have the plastic ban to thank for that,” said Mr Abbas Fadhil, a donkey owner.