NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 23 – The government says the Monday plastic bags ban deadline will not change despite protests from manufacturers who are staring at massive losses.
Environment Principal Secretary Charles Sunkuli stated that requisite measures have been put in place to deal with those who contravene the law placing a ban on plastics from next week.
“This ban will not be postponed. We as a Ministry are ready to effect the ban,” Sunkuli said.
The ban on the use of plastic bags for both domestic and commercial use was announced through a Gazette Notice dated February 28, this year.
“All those who have factories to manufacture the plastic bags will be our first target. We will make sure they will not make the plastic bags, so that they do not reach the common Kenyan. We will make sure that starting from the factories, there are no plastic bags,” he said.
The Permanent Secretary stated that the ban was informed by the Constitution that grabs every Kenyan a right to live in a clean environment.
“Through the ban, Kenya will be playing a global role in achieving sustainable development goals. In addition, the ban will contribute greatly to vision 2030’s goal of Kenya being a clean middle income economy,” he stated.
Sunkuli further explained that the ministry will not retreat in the ban but clarified that it isn’t a total ban. “Waste bin liners, primary food packaging are some of the plastics falling in the exempt category.”
“Questions have been raised to possible job losses following the ban. I can inform you that the number of jobs that will be created using alternative packaging materials will be far much more than job losses.”
He further stated that there are no adequate statistics to confirm the alleged job losses.
“We already have 40 producers who are lined up to take over the alternative packaging materials market. The government will give incentives to those who want to produce alternative packaging materials. We will propose tax incentives among others to encourage them,” he said.
Manufacturers claimed that the ban on plastic bags will lead to loss of about 60,000 jobs directly and another 400,000 indirectly, a figure disputed by the government which says there are measures in place to protect them.