Tetra Pak roots for environmental conservation

Tetra Pak Marketing Director Jackline Arao (centre), NEMA Director General Mamo Boru (left) and Friends of Oloolua Forest (FOF) Chair Mwai Wa Kihu (right) plant a tree at Oloolua Forest during the October 19, 2021 tree-planting event. The exercise was part of Tetrapak's recycling campaign dubbed "Go Nature, Go Carton". PHOTO/Aggrey Omboki, The Scholar Media Africa.

Tetra Pak has launched a campaign to promote recycling and protect the environment.

The campaign, dubbed “Go Nature, Go Carton”, is designed to promote the proper sorting, disposal and recycling of waste.

Globally, human activity produces 2 billion of waste each year.

By 2050, it is estimated that the waste levels will have risen by 70 percent.

Tetra Pak marketing director Ms Jackline Arao said the firm is working with stakeholders including malls and other commercial establishments to ensure that waste is correctly sorted and collected.

“We are encouraging consumers to sort and collect different types of waste for more efficient waste disposal and management.

Please inform members of your households on the need to correctly dispose of waste to ease the recycling process,” she said.

Ms Arao told The Scholar that there were several ways to use the recycled materials, including the construction of desks and partitioning of classrooms.

“We are working to advance the recycling of carton packages, as well as enhancing the recycling potential of materials used in packaging.

Our children can use desks made by recycled materials as well as sit in classes with walls made from recycled, durable materials” she said.

The marketing boss said the firm was involved in discussions and plans with local stakeholders to ensure that more waste is recycled countrywide.

“We are working to expand and strengthen collection systems by actively engaging with stakeholders such as retailers, waste management companies and policymakers to overcome challenges in local recycling processes,” she said.

Ms Arao revealed that Tetra Pak’s campaign is based on the ambition to maximize on recycling as a social responsibility.

Its theme for the campaign is “A world where all packages are collected recycled and never become litter”.

Speaking at a tree planting exercise at the forest on October 19, 2021, Ms Arao appealed to Kenyan parents to spread and emphasize the message of safe waste disposal at home.

“Let us talk our children and other family members on how to safely dispose of these used masks. Please collect and sort the waste according to type for proper disposal and recycling where possible” said Ms Arao.

National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) director general Mamo Boru asked families not to lump all the domestic waste together.

“Do not mix all your waste together at household level, because the COVID-related waste can lead to community transmissions if not properly managed,” he said.

Mr Boru said Nema is working with the ministry of education to include environmental conservation in the school curriculum.

“We are at an advanced stage of plans to include conservation in the education system. We have called this initiative ‘greening the curriculum’ and expect it to play a major role in changing the young people’s attitudes towards the environment,” he said.

Oliver and his sister Nadia (foreground) plant a tree at Oloolua Forest during the October 19, 2021 tree-planting exercise dubbed “Go Nature, Go Carton” . The duo are regular visitors to the popular tourist site. Tetrapak Industries plans to plant a million trees in the country within a four year period starting October 2021. PHOTO/Aggrey Omboki, The Scholar Media Africa.

Tetra Pak also hosted the event to shine the spotlight on an ongoing campaign to plant 1 million trees in an effort to restore lost tree cover in the forest that covers 1,633 hectares.

Through the tree planting gesture, the packaging giant hopes to create awareness on the need to conserve the environment.

The firm is involved in a conservation program at the forest in addition to other national resources that have gifted Kenya with its rich biodiversity.

Its conservation campaign is also backed by Friends of Oloolua Forest (FOF) and the Olololua Forest Association (OFA), a community initiative made up of residents from the four areas that share a boundary with the sprawling green complex.

The forest which is managed by the National Museums of Kenya, borders Bulbul to the north, Elmerisho to the south, Karen to the east and Nkaimurunya to the west.

It is popular with local and international tourists as a nature trail, where visitors can enjoy the fresh air and observe resident birds and animals.

Other conservation partners include the Kenya Forestry Service, National Forest Conservancy and Nema.

To boost the tree planting drive in Oloolua Forest and elsewhere, Tetrapak has rolled out an ambitious plan to plant at least 1 million trees in the country over the next 3 to 4 years.

Ms Arao said the firm had provided tree seeds and seedlings for the campaign, which reflects its commitment to produce packaging materials from sustainably managed forests.

“Our packaging materials are made from trees in forests that are sustainably managed through reforestation and conservation We are committed to ensure that we do not just use the trees to make our products but also replace them with other trees,” she said.

The Oloolua Forest reforestation drive is designed to create a deeper, more wholesome connection between visitors and nature.

Tetra Pak has already delivered some seedlings to the forest for planting as part of the conservation initiative.

Visitors to the park are encouraged to plant and name a tree.

Mr Peter Kinyanjui, 76, is a member of the Friends of Oloolua Forest (FOF) conservation initiative.

Mzee Peter Kinyanjui plants a tree at Oloolua Forest during the tree-planting exercise. PHOTO/Aggrey Omboki, The Scholar Media Africa.

Mzee Kinyanjui joined other members of the local community in a tree planting exercise sponsored by Tetra Pak.

He named his tree Ngai nomorunya, meaning “God is good”.

“I gave that tree the name to express my gratitude to God for the many years of life and other blessings that he has given me,” he said.

On his part, Nema boss Mamo Boru said the call to protect the environment was not just scientific but also spiritual.

“It is our divine duty to protect God’s creation. All of us should work to conserve the pristine forest environment,” he says.

He lamented the sad fact that some previous visitors to the area had left litter lying around.

“If you go inside the forest, you will notice a challenge of littering. Who generates this waste? It is us. We must take the responsibility to ensure that we enhance the quality of our environment,” said the Nema boss.

“Article 42 of the constitution bestows responsibility on each and every citizen in the country to ensure the quality of the environment. It is time we all took this responsibility seriously and played our part in protecting the environment,” added the Nema boss.

On his part, chief Ngong forester Francis Kimani commended the firm for its tree planting initiative.

“Tetrapak has taken the lead in showing that industrial production can be supported by sustainably managed forests. Nema encourages other corporate bodies to come on board and join the initiative so that together we can work to achieve the vision of a greener country,” said the KFS official.

According to the forester, Kenya has made strides in restoring the lost natural glory of the capital, Nairobi.

“We have been able to transform a number of green spaces in the last year, including Nairobi River, the Arboretum, Karura Forest, the Michuki Memorial Park and others,” he said.

“The river is now a cleaner, safer water body, teeming with aquatic life. This is because we identified and closed over 150 illegal waste discharge points along the river and another 120 solid waste dumps. The ducks and crocodiles are back and visitors can now enjoy the sights,” he disclosed.

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