Kenyan plastic bag ban brings $40K fine, jail time

Delayed legislation aims to cut pollution, but businesses remain opposed to new law

Kenyan plastic bag ban brings $40K fine, jail time

World Bulletin / News Desk

Kenya on Monday rolled out a new tough law banning the use of plastic bags, with those found flouting the legislation being fined the equivalent of $40,000 or facing no less than four years in jail.

The new law -- which has been delayed by around a decade amid wrangling -- targets those trading in, using or producing plastic bags and is part of measures Kenya’s National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) has come up with to crack down on pollution.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, NEMA Director Geoffrey Wahungu said his teams had been on the ground to make sure the new law was being adhered to.

Environment Minister Judy Wakhungu said plastic bags were a toxic menace for Kenya that needed to be removed from the environment.

However, research agencies in Kenya estimate that over 100,000 people will lose their jobs due to the ban.

Businesses have pleaded with the government through the Kenya Association of Manufacturers to postpone the ban and focus on a waste-management proposal so as not to lose the $50.9 million in annual revenue that the plastics industry brings the country.

Joyce Kanini, who packs goods at the Mamakini Supermarket in Nairobi, said the new ban will negatively affect their business.

“Things were easier to do with the plastic bags; now we are forced to use others that do not pollute the environment.” She says a surcharge levied on plastic bags has “scared off” customers.

The United Nations Environment Programme has estimated that supermarkets hand out approximately 100 million bags annually in Kenya.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 29 Ağustos 2017, 10:10