Nema orders plastic bag manufacturers to declare their stock

Manufacturers of plastic bags have been ordered to declare their stock ahead.

The National Environment Management Authority has also asked retailers to clear their stock of plastic bags before August 28 when a ban on their use, manufacture and importation for household and commercial packaging will take effect.

“We have served notice to manufacturers to declare their stock and are working with the Kenya Revenue Authority, the Kenya Bureau of Standards and county governments to effect the ban,” its director general Geoffrey Wahungu said.

The official said some manufacturers had already begun recycling plastic bags to produce alternative products.

He was speaking on Wednesday at a consultative forum for stakeholders on the ban on plastic bags.

LEGAL NOTICE

On February 28, the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources published a legal notice announcing a ban on both domestic and commercial use of plastic bags from September.

Some supermarkets have already begun phasing out the bags. They have introduced reusable sisal bags. Among the supermarkets that have made strides to meet the new directive are Nakumatt and Uchumi.

Cabinet Secretary Judi Wakhungu insisted that the ban still stands.

She said the stock declared would be considered waste material.

“There are companies that are coming up to collect and reuse the bags in making other products,” said Prof Wakhungu.

100 MILLION

The United Nations Environment Programme estimates that supermarkets give more than 100 million polythene bags to their customers annually.

These end up in kitchen cabinets of households all over the country, before they are finally discarded together with other garbage. The ban has, however, been met with resistance from a section of manufacturers that had earlier said it would lead to job losses.

“Manufacturers who will be affected by this ban will have to transition to making biodegradable products,” said the minister.

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