The ban on plastics in our parks took effect on June 5, 2020. This means that you are not allowed to have plastic within the parks during your visits, picnics, safaris, hikes, camping, etc.
The ban is geared towards promoting plastic-free parks. Humans are the species that take plastics to our parks when they visit them. This is sad, as the wildlife offer memories as well as leave them with garbage to deal with.
A friend of mine together with her friend partner with KWS in developing an eco-friendly litter bag that not only holds your waste during your visit but also contains important data. That is, the park rules, waste-free initiative explanation, and important contacts in case of any emergency while inside the park.
It’s an awesome initiative, right?
The bags are so cute and presentable. Hence accomodating to have them in your vehicle.
The bags eliminate the need for too many fliers o help you understand different stuff. The bag handles the park rules, hotlines, ban reminders. All these would need several fliers, which would have ended up wasted in the bins once they served their needs. The bags hold all that and can be reused. hence the reduction of waste.
The bags help to make the ban embraced and adhered to.
Are people welcoming them?
I was lucky to volunteer in distributing the litter bags at the main gate of Nairobi National Park. And the 7 hours exposed me to different kinds of visitors.
The conscious ones: These had already come across the initiative and were responsible enough to already have one of such bags with them for their trips. They were grateful and already practicing free plastic parks.
The curious ones: They allowed us time to explain to them the initiative and accepted the litter bag.
The not-so-friendly ones: These decided to drive off when we tried to approach. We later learned that most of these thought the bags were on sale. Sadly, they missed it, as we were distributing them free of charge.
Some visitors were good enough to give us feedback on their way out and even surrendered their waste at the gate.
We have seen what plastic pollution has done to our environment. This should not happen in our conservation areas. Wildlife needs a plastic-free world.
Understanding the dangers of plastic to species like wildlife helps to ensure that we are responsible for our waste management in their habitats.
Don’t enjoy a nice picnic inside the park, and leave it certified just because no one saw you. We have to be responsible and considerate.
I remember a young guy approached us to learn more about the initiative. He narrated how a picnic site had been littered and he had to clean up the area, as the visitors had already left. He went the extra mile to clean up the area despite not being responsible for the mess. We need more of him, but most importantly need visitors who respect and value our parks.