Kenyans found with plastic bags now face arrest

Tuesday September 12 2017

Traders with the banned plastic bags. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Traders with the banned plastic bags. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

By COLLINS OMULO
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Environmental watchdog Nema on Tuesday warned of arrests if found carrying banned plastic bags.

This comes after the authority said that it was now embarking on strict enforcement of the ban, two weeks after the Ministry of Environment banned the use of plastic bags.

Nema corporate communications manager, Evans Nyabuto, said that it was now illegal to be found in possession of plastic bags as the grace period that was given by the authority’s enforcement team had elapsed.

He said that the environmental authority was still engaging in public awareness campaigns in readiness for the full implementation of the ban.

“We had earlier given Kenyans and businesses a grace period to comply with the ban that took effect last month as we set on checking for non-compliance and advising those who had not complied to do so but now the window is now closed,” he said.

Mr Nyabuto further said that Nema was currently engaging the authority’s county directors and county executives in charge of environment to work together in ensuring that the ban is complied with in each of the 47 counties in the country.

“Our enforcement team is currently in Mombasa County where we are meeting county directors and county executive in charge of environment on the level of compliance in the county. We have gone round to certain stores to check for their levels of compliance,” Mr Nyabuto said.

He also said that the authority was working with the Red Cross, National Youth Service, recyclers and other small supermarkets across the country to set up adequate drop off points to enable citizens who still have polythene bags to dispose them.

Last month, the authority struck a deal with three largest supermarkets in Kenya, Tuskys, Uchumi and Nakumatt, to act as drop-off points after the countrywide ban on non-biodegradable plastic bags.