Plastic bags ban takes effect today

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The plastic bags ban has taken effect today, in an initiative fronted by NEMA and the police force
The plastic bags ban has taken effect today, in an initiative fronted by NEMA and the police force

Plastic bags ban has been effected by NEMA in collaboration with police country wide. This is to foster a clean environment by doing away with non-biodegradable material. The ban will also ensure proper waste management disposal and clear sewerage systems.

One of the new drastic measures announced by the Ministry of Environment is a fine of not less than Sh2 million and a jail term of 4years.

Last week Environment Cabinet Secretary Judi Wakhungu said this was part of Government efforts to ensure that the ban would be fully implemented.

Speaking at the United Nations head office in Nairobi, Prof Wakhungu said the penalties would apply to both individuals and manufacturers.

“We do not wish to go that route; however, that is what is provided by the Act,” she said. National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) Director General Geoffrey Wahungu said they were working on criminal charges for non-compliant individuals with the help of County governments.

“We are working towards domestication of the law for small offenders and hoping for assistance from the Counties in implementing it,” said Mr. Wahungu.

The CS said Kenyans should inculcate the habit of carrying alternative products because regulating bags could mitigate harmful impacts on the environment. “Reducing bags use can also relieve pressure on landfills and waste management,” she said, adding that the ban would also create a good platform for local products and in turn boost the economy. “Alternative products such as baskets will open up a new market that will boost the economy,” she said.

This is not the first time Kenya has attempted to ban the use of plastic bags. Similar attempts were made in 2007 and 2011, both unsuccessfully. This is unlike Rwanda, the only country in the region that has managed to do away with the environmental pollutants. “By mid-June next year, we will work on protecting our borders and entry points,” said the NEMA boss.