Manufacturers and traders in plastic bags in the North Rift region stand to lose millions of shillings while hundreds of workers face the sack as a ban takes effect next week.
Some traders on Monday said they had stocks worth more than Sh5 million, which they will not exhaust before the August 28 deadline.
“Most of our customers have avoided buying the bags due to fears of hefty penalties,” Mr Samuel Maina, who has a stock worth over Sh40,000, said.
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Mr Maina, who was at the Eldoret retail market, supplies most of the plastic bags to supermarkets, retail shops and traders of tree seedlings.
The Environment ministry has announced a fine of Sh50,000 for anyone found with plastic shopping bags after August 28.
Manufacturers flouting the ban will be fined between Sh2 and Sh4 million.
“The National Environment Management Authority and county governments are expected to enforce the ban,” Mr John Chumo, the secretary of National Environment Complaints Committee, explained.
He said the Kenya Forest Service and Kenya Forestry Research Institute had developed alternative decomposable materials to replace the plastic bags.
“There should be no fears of loss of revenue or employment since we already have a substitute to the plastic bags,” Mr Chumo said.
The Kenya Association of Manufacturers is opposed to the ban, arguing that it will result in the loss of more than 60,000 jobs.
“Research has revealed that seven out of 10 cows in most slaughterhouses are found to have consumed the indigestible plastic materials,” Mr Chumo said.
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Meanwhile, environmental experts and the National Drought Management Authority in Uasin Gishu County have expressed concern over the destruction of water catchment areas and pollution of rivers.
They singled out River Sosiani in Uasin Gishu County that is in the process of drying up due to lack of vibrant environmental laws against pollution.
“A study by a local university declared the river dead as the water cannot support the survival of any organism.
“Both the carbon and biological oxygen demand at the river is too high while the quantity of the water has kept declining,” Mr Mathew Koech, an environmentalist in the region, said.
The county’s department of environment allocated Sh15 million last financial year for the planting of over 200,000 trees to rehabilitate the river.
“The river is contaminated with raw waste from industries, garages, hotels and learning institutions, making the water unsafe for consumption,” he said.