The use of plastic paper bags has finally been banned.
From Monday, anyone producing, selling or even using these bags risks imprisonment of up to four years or a fine of Sh4 million in a tough environmental law aimed at curbing pollution.
For years, environmentalist have called for this ban, but lack of political will has always hampered it.
That Kenyans have been careless in the disposal of plastics is evident in blocked sewers and drains and a trail of destruction of marine, domestic and wildlife.
Never again should we let the environment be choked by our failure to act.
Kenya now joins countries such as Rwanda, France and Italy, which have either banned in toto, or heavily tax the use of plastic bags in order to tame the menace.
It is not time to now look at industries that had collapsed as a result of the introduction of plastic bags.
They include the sisal sub-sector, based on a crop that used to be grown in the semi-arid areas that cover about 75 per cent of the country.
Lately, some entrepreneurs have been using the water hyacinth to make eco-friendly bags and the ban opens a guaranteed market for them.
There is a need to build alternative industries.
This is an opportunity we should not let go.
But the ban on plastic bags should not be used to harass people as we transit to alternatives.
Nema must advise its officers to help all understand what is required of them.