Retailers risk Nema raid for plastic bag stock after August 28

Retailers left with unused plastic bags after the ban takes effect on August 28 will have to declare their stock and submit disposal plans to the National Environment Management Authority (Nema).

The agency said manufacturers and importers must also declare unsold stock and indicate safe disposal plans.

“Any unused plastic becomes part of the waste produced by the entities after August 28 and must therefore be disposed accordingly,” Nema communications director Evans Nyabuto told the Business Daily.

The agency said plans are under way for quality agencies to mount surveillance at the country’s import entry points, retail outlets and national production units once plastic bags become illegal after the deadline.

“We will go to the extent of raiding defiant premises. Quality agencies like Kenya Bureau of Standards and customs will lock out new orders while counties will mop up open-air market stocks,” said Mr Nyabuto.

In a February 28 gazette notice, Environment and Natural Resources secretary Judi Wakhungu gave importers, manufacturers and users six months to clear their stock of plastic bags.

Under the Environmental Management and Co-ordination Act, any person who contravenes the provision of the gazette notice shall be liable to a fine of between Sh2 million and Sh4 million, or imprisonment of up to two years.

In Kenya, plastic bags are widely used as a key packing material.

The Environment ministry says supermarkets alone distribute 100 million plastic bags annually.


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