Plastic ban threat wrong

Thursday September 14 2017

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Although the National Environment Management Authority has its heart in the right place, its threat this week to start arresting and prosecuting those who flout the ban on plastic bags is too severe, considering the public goodwill with which the new law has been received.

Rather, it should seek ways to increase public education and compliance so as to create an incentive for even greater buy-in of the laudable policy.

It is notable that polythene bag manufacturers are reeling from the shock of losing their businesses and, therefore, constitute the last bastion of resistance.

To ensure that they, too, comply, Nema should engage them with a view to giving them incentives to embrace the new rules.


These may include tax breaks if they venture into the manufacture of environmentally friendly bags.

Much as wielding the big stick may compel compliance by resorting to the fear factor, the best way to sustain the ban remains dangling the carrot to reward those who comply rather than punish those who do not.

As such, the authority should build partnerships with county and national government agencies and also institutions such as the media to identify and celebrate those who have embraced innovation and creativity in complying.

The threat of arrests, in short, is coming too soon. There is still more work that needs to be done to ensure sustainable public support of the ban.