The government has explained why it has moved to completely ban non-woven carrier bags as it warns manufacturers that they will not be given amnesty to sell their ‘dead’ stock.
The National Environment Management Authority (Nema) has blamed manufacturers for the predicament saying they started producing poor quality, very thin and non-reusable bags to Kenyans.
Nema director-general Geoffrey Wahungu said after the ban on plastic carrier bags, the non-woven carrier, polypropylene bags came into the market to replace it.
The Nema boss said the government and the players in the industry including supermarkets, marketers, retailers and some outlets agreed on the use of the materials until Kenya Bureau Standards establishes the status and strength of the non-woven carrier bags.
“At the time we were getting very good gauge and strong bags so we reasoned because it was reusable or had the capacity for reuse, we allowed it to stay. But we have realised this has been abused, the gauge for this has become so thin, it is unsustainable, it is now a single use, it is plastic, it is non-woven so it’s a problem,” the Nema boss said.
Prof Wahungu further explained that last November, Nema released a directive to all the users to stop using the materials.
However, retailers and manufacturers sought for more time.
Last year December 13, Nema met the players and agreed to give them three months extension.
“So on Tuesday, we were merely reminding the manufacturers, users and retailers that the deadline is coming for March 31. We did not do a ban on anything, we are implementing a ban of August 28, 2017. From April 1, this bag is illegal in Kenya just like plastic bags until such a time we understand it ,” Prof Wahungu said.
The agency is testing the material’s strength by gauge, tensile and even the toxicity in the environment.