Residents of Kisumu have welcomed the ban on plastic bags set to take effect from Monday next week, saying it will help eradicate the infamous Kachok dumpsite.
The dumpsite, situated near residential areas in Kisumu, has been a subject of debate, with former governor Jack Ranguma facing criticism for failure to remove it, a major cause of pollution in Lake Victoria.
The Football Kenya Federation had also threatened to ban the use of the multibillion Moi Stadium if the waste is not removed.
But now Kisumu Residents Voice Chairman Audi Ogada has said the move by the government to ban plastic bags will relieve the county of the menace.
“This initiative will definitely improve our environment. There has been a deliberate effort to relocate the dumpsite by the new county government, or recycling the solid waste from the infamous Kachok Dumpsite.
“With relocation coupled with the ban and recycling, we expect a cleaner environment, and a larger supply of fish from Lake Victoria,” said Mr Ogada.
He urged the new Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o to ensure the implementation of his 10-point plan which, among other things, seeks to have the dumpsite relocated and recycling of waste done
“There is always a question of implementation. County governments pledge good laws but implementation becomes a challenge,” he said.
Meanwhile, traders are slowly adopting alternatives ahead of the ban on plastic bags.
A spot check by Nation around town revealed that some supermarkets have begun packing their goods in recyclable materials such as cloth bags.
However, most traders at Jubilee Market are still faced with uncertainty on what products to embrace.
Majority of fruit and vegetable vendors still pack their goods in the plastic bags, claiming that low income earners will be greatly affected.
At a Bata shoe store, an attendant, Martha Achieng’, who spoke to Nation said they have not yet received information from their manager on the alternative packaging which they will use, an indication of unpreparedness by some companies.
Shoppers in Nakumatt, have to part Sh50 for a small size reusable bag and Sh75 for a large.
A notice at the entrance said, “Due to the legislation on plastic ban, Nakumatt will be reducing the availability of the plastic bags. We encourage our customers to use eco bags, kiondos, baskets or Nakumatt reusable bags.”
At Khetias and Tumaini supermarkets, a notice at the entrances also directs customers to carry their own packing bags as from August 28.
Mr Collins Otieno, former chairman of hawkers says the ban will increase the rate of crime in the town as hundreds of youths working as hawkers will be jobless.
“I don’t support the ban on plastic bags as youths working for manufacturers and who supply the polythene bags to shopping centres will be out of work,” he said.
However buyers in the retail stores said the ban will go a long way in creating a clean environment.
“The ban ought to have come even much earlier. Look at Kachok dumpsite. There are plastic bags everywhere. We hope the government will be firm to ensure that this ban is adhered to,” said Mr Edwin Ochieng’.