KENYA – M-taka, a Kisumu-based startup has launched a mobile application that enables local people to better manage their plastic waste.

The digital solution, also named ‘M-taka’, connects waste collectors with the people and businesses that generate most of the plastic bottles, cans and bags.

According to Stela Kamwasir, Regional Director of the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) in the southern town of Nyanza, the initiative is “the safest way of preventing plastic bottles from ending up in Lake Victoria”.

The body of water (around 68,800 km2) bordered by Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania has in recent years become a dumping ground for local residents, who dump all kinds of plastic materials.

Lake Victoria supplies drinking water to a number of towns in East Africa, starting with Kisumu.

“M-Taka” should therefore help to raise awareness among users of the sustainable management of plastic waste and, more generally, to improve sanitation.

Benson Abila, the managing director of Taka says the app is the first of its kind in Western Kenya. He says the app will allow locals to sign up and receive local waste management services.

Abila noted that their initiative will push the low recycling percentage to greater heights. “The goal of the app is to ensure that we bridge the gap in access to recycling,” he said.

“We are ready to push it to 100 percent and we are here to sensitize the residents on the need to wipe out plastics amidst us.”

He says they will station their agents in every corner of the city to be able to reach out to clients who will be willing to give out their plastic waste for recycling.

In Kenya, the closure of illegal landfill sites and the recovery of plastic waste in 47 counties are at the heart of the law on sustainable waste management recently promulgated by the government.

A measure welcomed by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) but embarrassing given that supermarkets in Kenya distributed up to 100 million plastic bags in 2019 alone, just two years after the ban on the use, manufacture and import of plastic bags in this East African country.

For the time being, eco-responsible initiatives are multiplying, including in Nairobi. One example is Dow’s operation to collect and recycle 30,000 tonnes of plastic waste in the Kenyan capital in the second half of 2022.

The American supplier of packaging solutions has collaborated with the start-up Mr. Green Africa in this anti-pollution campaign, which has also targeted Egypt, Guinea and Nigeria.

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