Verdict on plastic bags ban on Friday

Wednesday August 23 2017

A woman carries her shopping in an eco-friendly

A woman carries her shopping in an eco-friendly bag in Nakuru on August 23, 2017. The ban on plastic bags takes effect on August 28. PHOTOS | SILA KIPLAGAT | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By RICHARD MUNGUTI
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A judge will on Friday decide whether a ban on the use of plastic bags will take effect on Monday next week,

Plastic manufacturers have asked Justice Bernard Mweresa Eboso to quash a gazette notice published by the Environment Cabinet Secretary Judy Wakhungu banning the use of plastic bags.

PARTICIPATION

Lawyers for the manufacturers told the judge that the minister gave the directive without public participation.

Lawyer Gibran Darr said the ban has a trickle-down effect as both consumers and manufacturers will suffer.

Vide gazette notice published on February 28, 2017 the minister directed that the ban would take effect after six months.

The lawyer urged the judge to lift the ban to give all parties a chance to engage one another on the ban.

SISAL

But lawyer Julius Anyoka for environmental NGO Multitouch International, whose Executive Director is Christine Wangari Gachege, said they supported the minister's ban because plastics are hazardous.

Mr Anyoka said consumers are encouraged to use bags manufactured using sisal and other environment-friendly materials.

Retailers of plastic bags argue that there was no public participation before Prof Wakhungu imposed the ban, and that it caught them unawares.

“Without any consultation, the government issues a gazette notice that has far reaching ramifications, and has come as a shocker to the plastic bags manufactures and retailers who were not able to prepare for what was to come,” said Mr Darr.

He added that stakeholders have been in consultation with the government over the last 10 years regarding the management of plastic waste, and that it is Prof Wakhungu who reneged on what had been agreed upon.