, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 28 – The National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) has kicked off an operation countrywide to ascertain if retailers and manufacturers have adhered to the plastic bags ban that took effect Sunday midnight.
NEMA officials in collaboration with police officers inspected retail shops and manufacturers in Nairobi to establish if they had complied with the ban.
NEMA Director General Geoffrey Wahungu said they have stationed enforcement teams throughout the country.
“This is more of an awareness campaign that will last a week; we want to inspect how manufacturers, retailers, and businesses are implementing the ban,” Wahungu told Capital FM News.
NEMA officials will also take the opportunity to create more awareness and clarify matters arising from the ban.
“Those who are still using plastic paper bags will go off with a warning for just today,” said Wahungu clarifying that county governments will be responsible for ensuring compliance by consumers and other businesses in various counties.
“Those who still have plastic bags will have to sign a declaration form where they will disclose the amount of plastic bag left so that we can send the recyclers to them to collect it for recycling,” he explained.
Wahungu also said users holding plastic paper bags at home will have an opportunity to return the bags to selected retailers who have initiated a recycling program.
Among the retailers are Uchumi, Tuskys and Nakumatt Supermarkets who have agreed on a take-back scheme.
“Citizens can take back the polythene bags they are holding in their houses to the bins located in these retail chains. Not all paper bags will be amenable to recycling …the really dirty ones don’t make economic sense because it takes some cost to clean them,” Wahungu said.
The Retailers Traders Association of Kenya which is in support of the ban said all major supermarkets will provide an eco-friendly bag at a small fee.
The supermarkets include Naivas, Mulleys, Tuskys, Chandarana, Nakumatt, Carrefour and Cleanshelf.
Others are Saltes, QuickMart, Budget, Uchumi, EastMatt, Choppies and Tumaini.
Speaking to Capital FM News, Retrak Director and Naivas COO Willy Kimani said the eco-friendly bags will cost the retailers a bit more than the single use plastic paper bag hence the need to cost share with shoppers.
“The bags will cost us between Sh5 to Sh10 more (per bag) than what we use. We are subsidizing the cost for the benefit of the consumer,” said Kimani.
The retailers have also given consumers the option of bringing their own bags or buying the more expensive shopping bags for between Sh30 and Sh50.
The ban was gazetted on February 28, 2017, in a bid to tackle the huge waste in the country that has become a challenge to the environment.