Kenya ban on plastic bags likely to revive regional law

Wednesday March 15 2017

A dumping site choking with plastic shopping

A dumping site choking with plastic shopping bags. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP

By Hellen Githaiga

A regional ban on plastic bags is likely to come into effect after Kenya, which had been adamant, outlawed the paper bags effective September this year.

Kenya's Environment and Natural Resources Cabinet Secretary Judi Wakhungu announced the ban on Tuesday.

“The CS for Environment and Natural Resources has with effect from six months from date of this notice banned the use, manufacture and importation of all plastic bags used for commercial and household packaging,” reads the Gazette notice dated February 28.

In November last year, the East Africa Legislative Assembly (EALA) was forced to shelve debate on the EAC Polythene Materials Control Bill, 2016 after strong opposition from Kenyan manufacturers.

Kenya said the ban on plastics would lead to massive loss of jobs and investment running into billions of dollars.

The new development is likely to revive debate on the Bill as Tanzania already outlawed plastics bags at the start of this year.

Uganda is said to be also considering an amendment to its 2009 law to effect a total ban.

Rwanda placed a total ban on plastics bags in 2006.

The light non-biodegradable plastic bags which are primarily used for packaging remain to be top environmental nuisance across the region.

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