NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 20 – Two months after the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) rolled out the ban on plastic carrier bags, the authority is reporting a 100 percent compliance in the implementation of the ban.
NEMA Director Prof. General Geoffrey Wahungu links the success of the ban to strict enforcement that has seen arrests of about 60 people so far including 10 distributors, consumer education and also the general goodwill from Kenyans.
“Last week, we arrested 11 people in Kisii and Nyamira, but most arrests have been in Nairobi and Mombasa,” says Wahungu.
Wahungu, however, says the authority is still having a challenge completely wiping out the smaller and lighter bags used by small scale traders for packing groceries.
He says NEMA is now zeroing on manufacturers and distributors to cut off supply of the banned carrier bags to the market with plans to manage plastic bottles underway.
“We know there are people still hoarding the carrier bags for household trash. We don’t have a problem with that. Our focus is on the source,” adds Wahungu.
NEMA is now working with the National Youth Service to clean up major highways with the Nairobi – Nakuru highway cleared of paper bags and plastic bottles.
Wahungu says there has been pressure from Kenyans who were happy with the ban on carrier bags to also ban plastic bottles, but he says NEMA is keen on managing plastic bottle waste.
“Our immediate step going forward is to have all public transport vehicles have waste disposal bins by 10th of December,” said Wahungu.