Kenyans have roughly five months to legally use and manufacture plastic bags after the country’s Environment ministry outlawed their use from August.
Environment and Natural Resources Cabinet Secretary Judy Wakhungu in a gazette notice dated 14 February 2017 released today banned the use, manufacture and importation of plastic bags used in commercial, household packaging.
The ban comes into effect on September 1 and covers plastic bags categorized as the carrier bags and flat bags where a carrier bag is defined as one constructed with handles, and with or without gussets. The flat bags are constructed without handles, and with or without gussets.
The CS had last year indicated her ministry’s desire to rid the country of the said bags known to wreck havoc on the country’s environmental landscape.
The ban comes as good news to conservationists campaigning against the pollutants arguing that they do not decompose ending up clogging and chocking drainage systems leading to an environmental menace.
It is estimated that the country’s mushrooming supermarkets and retail outlets produce at least 100 million plastic bags annually which end up harming the environment due to poor disposal and recycling practices.
READ ALSO: Nairobi shoppers to pay for plastic bags
A similar directive by the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) to ban the manufacture and importation of the plastic bags in 2011 fell on deaf ears as the practice continued unabated.
In 2007, the Treasury moved to slap a 120 per cent levy on plastics to protect the environment from degradation. It also proposed a ban on very thin plastic bags.
Of all five members of the East African Community – Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda – only Rwanda has so far successfully banned all plastic bags since 2008, and replaced them with paper bags.
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