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Kenya extends ban on plastic bags to plastic bottles

The Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) is opposed to the ban and terms it as “illegal and rushed”.

Disposed plastic bottles (Twitter)

The Cabinet secretary for Environment, Prof Judi Wakhungu has announced a looming ban on use of plastic bottles to curb environmental pollution.

The new ban comes on a backdrop of another ban gazetted in mid-March where the government imposed a ban on the use, manufacture and importation of all plastic bags used for commercial and household packaging from September.

“We don’t have a choice. Phase one (of the ban) is the plastic carrier bags and the flat bags. But going forward we will also have to extend this to the plastic bottles because again if you look at most of our drainage they are clogged by the plastic bottles as well,” Prof Wakhungu told a local daily.

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Once the new ban comes into effect water bottlers and manufacturers of soft drinks and juices will have to find alternative packaging material.

The first option manufactures would turn to is carton boxes which already some companies pack their products in.

The ban has however divided environmentalist and manufactures into two, Environmentalists have praised the ban, saying it will help in minimising pollution of urban spaces, forests and water bodies; on the other hand manufacturers passionately oppose the move claiming it would lead job losses.

KAM chief executive Phyllis Wakiaga claimed it would hurt 176 plastic manufacturing companies and affect more than 60,000 employees.

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Prof Wakhungu on her side while appreciating that the government is yet to establish how many workers will be affected by the ban, adds that the figure has been grossly exaggerated.

“It’s a fair question for Kenyans to ask if the time (to implement the ban) is enough. But is what is a reasonable time and when is the appropriate time when a discussion has been going on for 15 years or more? She posed.

This is the third time Kenya is attempting to ban plastics in a decade and whether it would succeed this time, only time will tell.

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