NEMA received a prestigious award under the United Nations Persons of the year (2022) category, in recognition of her effort in promoting and safeguarding the environment in Kenya and vehemently working towards enforcement of the plastic bags ban.
The ban on plastic carrier bags was a key player in working towards the historic plastic resolution adopted by UN members states in March 2022 and was hailed as the biggest moment for the environment since the Paris Agreement.
NEMA becomes the first national institution to scoop the UN persons of the year award. The award was received by the Director General, Mamo B. Mamo, EBS accompanied by the Chairman, Eric Mungai, Board members and management team. The ceremony was held at UN Complex, Gigiri, Nairobi on 24th October 2022.
Speaking at the event, the DG noted that the recognition of the Authority by the United Nations in its effort to implement and enforce the plastic ban since 2017 is a milestone towards achieving a clean and healthy environment. He added that the Authority has continuously enforced the ban by working with 47 County Governments. He remarked that the Authority has gazetted over 200 environmental inspectors in the Counties to support with the enforcement actions.
“As NEMA family we feel honored as an institution to receive this award. This award gives us the motivation we need to continue inventing new ways of making our environment clean and healthy. This award is for all our stakeholders, our partners and indeed the Kenyans citizens whose lives we strive to improve,” Mamo said.
“The problem of plastic pollution is cross boundary and cross-cutting, and it requires systemic solutions covering policy, technology, management, financing, knowledge and research, awareness raising and behaviour change,” the DG said. He rationalized that the main challenge is the unwillingness of the public to desist from the using the bags although the ban has had a tremendous change in Kenyans attitude towards the bags.
The NEMA Chairman, Eric Mungai asked the neighbouring countries to also ban the plastic bags. He pointed out that the Authority has experienced challenges with influx of the illegal plastic bags into Kenyan markets through the porous borders.
He warned that the enforcement of the ban on importation, manufacture and use of the banned bags is active and those violating the law will be arrested and prosecuted.