National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) has set a deadline for the plastic bottles ban in the country.
NEMA on Thursday (25/1/18) gave all stakeholders until April 30, 2018 to comply with the directive that will set the course for the ban.
According to NEMA Board Chairman John Konchellah, plastic bottles are a menace to the environment and something must be done before the situation gets out of hand.
“Plastics have been banned and there is no two way. Anybody seeking to resist is performing a criminal act,” Mr Konchellah stated.
On his part, Nairobi Police Commissioner Japheth Koome said police will not tolerate anybody forming gangs to resist the ban.
“To companies using plastic bottles, if they put up a recycling plant will help a lot but if they continue clogging our drainage, then we will ban the plastic bottles.” said Mr Koome.
NEMA Director General Prof Geoffrey Wahungu pointed out that an operation is underway to help in the implementation of the ban on plastic bags in areas such as City Market, Park Market, Gikomba Market, Lower Kabete and Mlolongo Market where the use of plastic bags is still ongoing.
In August last year, NEMA assured Kenyans that the ban on plastic carrier bags would not be used to harass Kenyans.
Mr Wahungu urged Kenyans to cooperate for the sake of the environment.
“We are not looking to arbitrarily arrest Kenyans. Our immediate aim is to limit the carrier plastic bags from the source. We want Kenyans to help us implement this ban because, without their good will, we will not succeed,” he said.
Some of the controversial parts of the ban – the hefty fine and jail term prescribed should one be found on the wrong side of the law.
A two to four million fine, one to two years jail term for offenders or both were passed after exhaustive consultations.
“The law was made in a consultative manner. The Cabinet Secretary (CS) didn’t Gazette the Act in a vacuum. There were proper and sufficient consultations,” he clarified.
While officially opening the exhibition, the Cabinet Secretary for environment Judy Wakhungu also reiterated that the ministry would not be swayed from their commitment to enforcing the ban.
She lauded innovative stakeholders who adjusted to the ban and developed alternative eco-friendly packaging materials.