abusesaffiliationarrow-downarrow-leftarrow-rightarrow-upattack-typeburgerchevron-downchevron-leftchevron-rightchevron-upClock iconclosedeletedevelopment-povertydiscriminationdollardownloademailenvironmentexternal-linkfacebookfiltergenderglobegroupshealthC4067174-3DD9-4B9E-AD64-284FDAAE6338@1xinformation-outlineinformationinstagraminvestment-trade-globalisationissueslabourlanguagesShapeCombined Shapeline, chart, up, arrow, graphLinkedInlocationmap-pinminusnewsorganisationotheroverviewpluspreviewArtboard 185profilerefreshIconnewssearchsecurityPathStock downStock steadyStock uptagticktooltiptwitteruniversalityweb

31 Aug 2020

New York Times

Kenya: Fossil fuel companies lobbying to have plastic-bag ban reversed

‘Big Oil is in trouble. Its plan: flood Africa with plastic’ 31 August 2020

Confronting a climate crisis that threatens the fossil fuel industry, oil companies are racing to make more plastic. But they face two problems: Many markets are already awash with plastic, and few countries are willing to be dumping grounds for the world’s plastic waste. The industry thinks it has found a solution to both problems in Africa. According to documents reviewed by The New York Times, an industry group representing the world’s largest chemical-makers and fossil fuel companies is lobbying to influence US trade negotiations with Kenya, one of Africa’s biggest economies, to reverse its strict limits on plastics — including a tough plastic-bag ban. It is also pressing for Kenya to continue importing foreign plastic garbage, a practice it has pledged to limit.

…Kenya, like many countries, has wrestled with the proliferation of plastic. It passed a stringent law against plastic bags in 2017, and last year it was one of many nations around the world that signed on to a global agreement to stop importing plastic waste — a pact strongly opposed by the chemical industry. The chemistry council’s plastics proposals would “inevitably mean more plastic and chemicals in the environment,” said Griffins Ochieng, executive director for the Centre for Environmental Justice and Development, a nonprofit group based in Nairobi that works on the problem of plastic waste in Kenya. “It’s shocking.

…“It was the United States against the world,” said Jim Puckett of the Basel Action Network, a nonprofit that lobbies against the plastic waste trade. “I think they were in shock.” That setback has reenergized industry to seek deals with individual countries to boost the market for plastics and find new destinations for plastic waste, analysts say. In Nairobi, local groups are worried. “My concern is that Kenya will become a dumping ground for plastics,” said Dorothy Otieno of the Centre for Environmental Justice and Development. “And not just for Kenya, but all of Africa.”