The National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) has ordered all plastic bags manufacturers to clear their stock before the 28th August 2017.
This is in line with the gazette notice by the Environment and Natural Resources CS, Prof Judi Wakhungu on February 28th 2017 that banned the use, manufacture and importation of plastic carrier bags after six months.
During the stakeholder engagement forum on plastic carrier bags ban held on 21st June 2017 at UN Gigiri, NEMA Director General, Prof Geoffrey Wahungu stated that all the plastic bags that will still be in stock by the 28th August will be treated as waste. Prof Wahungu further warned manufacturers who will not adhere to the call that they will face criminal charges for non-compliance with the ban on plastic bags.
The forum brought all national actors such as manufacturers, importers, workers unions, administrators, policy makers at the national and county government levels, academia, regulators and members states who have implemented similar bans and development cooperation partners.
The forum offered a platform for exchange of views on how to implement the ban, share knowledge, best practices, lessons learned from partners who successfully experienced such transition, opportunities and challenges as well as find ways to overcome them. The participant also discussed possible options and incentives measures to support the successful implementation of the ban.
Retailers and manufacturers who will be found using and distributing plastic carrier bags will be liable to a fine between two and four million shillings or a jail term of between one and two years or both penalties.
The Director General added that in compliance with the enforcement strategy, “NEMA is serving notice to manufacturers, importers and large consumers such as supermarkets to submit their compliance plan to the plastic ban and a declaration of stocks held by them by the time the ban takes effect”
Moreover, under Scientific Information Mobilization, the Authority is collecting, collating and analysing existing data on plastic bags, collaborating with KNBS, UN Environment, NECC and other stakeholders for data on effects of plastic bags across sectors, documenting experiences and lessons learnt from countries, developing a database system for archiving data, undertaking further studies on plastics in collaboration with stakeholders including UN Environment, KIPPRA, County Governments, KRA, KEBS, NECC, KNBS, abattoirs, manufacturers and finally mapping entities dealing with plastic bags manufacture and importations.
Awareness creation is also critical for the success of the ban.
For this reason, the Authority is undertaking various media engagements such as talk shows, use of social media platforms, consultative meetings at national and regional forums, development and dissemination of awareness and publicity material as well as regional awareness/sensitization meetings and identification of alternatives to plastic carrier bags.
NEMA is collaborating with the relevant stakeholders such as UN Environment, KIPPRA, County Governments, KRA, KEBS, NECC, KNBS, to ensure that the ban takes effect on the due date.