Plastic bags are slowly making a comeback in Kenya despite imposing world's toughest law against the materials

Sugarcane hawkers and fruit vendors in Nairobi are openly using the banned wrapping materials

A report by the Sunday Nation newspaperreveals that sugarcane hawkers and a number of fruit vendors in Nairobi are openly using the banned wrapping materials even as the government says it will also ban plastic straws.

Last week, Environment PS Charles Sunkuli acknowledged the continued use of plastic when he said the ban was 80 per cent effective. He affirmed the government's commitment towards eradicating the carrier bags adding that the ministry is looking into claims of the materials finding their way into Kenya from neighbouring nations.

The report by Sunday Nation however reveals that plastic bags are imported from neighbouring nations such as Uganda and supplied to specific customers by organised cartels.

The dealers are said to have secret arrangements with suppliers who deliver the bags at designated points.

“Some of these plastic bags are old stock. The dealers are making frantic efforts to dispose them to avert losses,” a trader was quoted by the newspaper.

Boda boda operators are mainly used to circulate the products to customers in urban areas.

Likewise, nylon bags are in circulation in major towns in Western Kenya and Rift Valley.

This comes even as the National Environment Management Authority (Nema) launch a crackdown on individuals behind illegal and secret importation of banned nylon papers.

The Kenyan government last year imposed the world's toughest law against plastic bags. A Kenya Gazette notice signed by Environment cabinet secretary Judi Wakhungu outlawed the manufacture, import, sale or use of plastic carrier bags in the country.

A fine of Sh50,000 will be imposed on anyone found with plastic shopping bags while manufactures flouting the rule will be fined between Sh2 million and Sh4 million.

The ban has been a blessing in disguise for many entrepreneurs who have invested in eco-friendly bags from biodegradable materials.


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