Statement from James Wakibia on Launch of 2021 PET Rubbish Report

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Plastic pollution is not a consumer problem; it is a producer problem. The Plastic Industry has been very efficient at perpetuating a flawed narrative blaming the consumers for the plastic pollution problem and running away from responsibility.

If we are to effectively address the problem of plastic pollution, we must first acknowledge that it’s those that produce it that must take full blame. We cannot continue beating around the bush and pretending we do not know the source of our biggest environmental problem. It is a product of the petrochemical industry.

These industries realizing that the world is moving away from oil for its transport needs has decided to not only double but triple its production of unsustainable and environmentally harming plastics; most whose use is barely 5 minutes. We must demand better for our planet. We cannot just sit and watch a few companies destroying our environment.

We demand that these industries must redesign their products to have a lower or zero environmental impact, it’s possible, it’s a matter of whether they are concerned or not. Making profits doesn’t always have to cause problems to the environment.

We demand that plastic companies do more to ensure that the end of life of their plastics does not cause the ending of life of other living beings. This they can do through partnering with environmental organizations and communities to remove plastics already in the environment and through continuous public awareness programs on proper waste disposal. Plastic companies need to also work closely and support efforts that promote circular economy to give value to recyclable plastics.

We demand for more government regulation to compel plastic companies to be more responsible for their products. This can be done through policies such as extended producer responsibility to make each and every individual company profiting from plastics to belong to a producer responsibility organization whose mandate is to control plastic waste leakage and supporting circular economy. If they cannot toe the line, such plastics should be phased out!.

We request the government to enact legislation on Bottle Deposit and Return Scheme. Through this scheme plastic bottles, a majority that ends up in our water bodies can get to a recycling facility. It is sad that the drivers of recycling, the waste pickers are an extorted lot, they work long hours in difficult conditions only to be paid peanuts. A bottle deposit scheme will give that plastic bottle a value and people will make decent earning from their sweat.

We demand the government passes necessary policies on waste segregation from the source. It is only through efficient waste segregation and proper investment in solid waste infrastructure that will ensure waste is not contaminated and can be put back to circular economy. 

Of most importance is that we must all work together to stop plastic pollution. I am very happy with the work Clean Up Kenya, Nairobi Recyclers, and Changing Markets Foundation are doing at exposing the real polluters of our environment. Through their report, I hope more action will follow to curb plastic pollution.

 It pains me to see our nature polluted with plastics, that shouldn’t be the case.

Less plastic is fantastic.




Betterman Simidi Musasia

Founder, Patron and Spokesperson, Former CEO

Betterman is a sustainable public sanitation advocate and a pollution control evangelist. In 2015, after becoming extremely tired of seeing all the trash in Kenyan neighborhoods and hearing the authorities fake promises to clear the mess, he sold his trucking business to establish Clean Up Kenya. Today, the organization is a leading national sustainable public sanitation advocacy brand. In September 2020, he stepped down as Clean Up Kenya Chief Executive Officer and currently serves as Founder and Patron.


Clean Up Kenya was established in 2015 to advocate for and promote sustainable public sanitation in Kenya. Since then we have become the de-facto national public sanitation advocacy brand. We are also experts in community mobilizing for cleanups. We have done numerous cleanups over the years, some of which have been attended by over 1000 volunteers on singular sites. These cleanups are meant to increase visibility on the problem of waste and it is therefore common to see our volunteers in bibs with one message, ‘Clean Up Kenya’. At the core of our work is honest and actual engagement in communities – not PR events. We also run advocacy campaigns holding duty bodies, consumer brands, green-washing NGOs, and other stakeholders to account for unsustainable public sanitation in Kenya and the global South. We receive no funding for our work but collaborate with others on projects.