Counterfeiting blocks entry of new carrier bag

Friday August 25 2017

The plastic bag ban will come into effect on August 28.

Michael Otieno of Takawiri Enterprise explains how they make bags from hyacinth located in Lake Victoria, during the Eco-friendly Alternatives Expo held at KICC's Tsavo Hall on August 24, 2017. The plastic bag ban will come into effect on August 28. PHOTO | FRANCIS NDERITU | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By PAULINE KAIRU
More by this Author

It looks, feels and has all the characteristics of a polythene bag except it is biodegradable.

Unlike the plastic bag whose ban will come into effect on August 28, this one is derived from biological substances rather than from petroleum.

It has been an exciting concept to most Kenyans visiting an ongoing exhibition on eco-friendly alternatives to polythene bags at KICC.

But, the government has said it will not allow the bioplastic into the market yet as a substitute, because of the challenges authorities and Kenyans may have in telling it apart from the one being banned.

“They are made purely 100 per cent of bio-based material,” Mr Kwasi Donkoh, CEO of E-power Eco-Systems Initiative, a dealer marketing the bioplastic bags made from cassava and vegetable oil and another from corn starch, said.

Mr Vikash Samani, director of Sai Green Africa Ltd, another bioplastic dealer, said when you burn the bag, it turns into ash and to destroy it, one can dissolve it in hot water and it will turn into a soup that one can drink.

National Environment Management Authority Director-General Geoffrey Wahungu said Kenya is not ready for the biodegradable bags because of their resemblance to the traditional polythene bags, which may give room for counterfeiting.