NEMA raises alarm on return of plastic bags

The National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) has issued a warning over the return of plastic bags in the country.

            The bags are slowly finding their way back into Kenya market from neighbouring Uganda a year after they were banned.

            Unscrupulous businessmen engaged in the trade take advantage of the porous Kenya-Uganda border posts to sneak in the products.

            Kisumu County Director of Environment, Tom Togo, said a crackdown has been launched to wipe out the products in the area which is a key destination for the products.

            The importation, he said posed a big challenge in enforcing the ban since the traders stash the bags among other products like eggs to escape police dragnet.

            NEMA, he said has developed a multi agency plan that involves police officers to track down and bring to book those involved in the illegal trade.

            Speaking to KNA in his office, Togo disclosed that since the crackdown was launched 5 people found in possession of plastic bags have been arrested and charged in court.

            “Two weeks ago, we arrested a supplier who had 9, 600 pieces of plastic bags in Kisumu and he was charged with a fine of Sh. 30,000. Another trader was charged and released on a Sh. 100, 000 bond,” said Togo.

           NEMA, he added has embarked on public sensitisation meetings targeting key market places, hawkers and traders to create awareness on the ban and consequences of being found in possession of the outlawed products.

            The office however, he said was faced by staff shortage making it difficult to monitor compliance with the ban.

            This, he observed had led to infiltration of conmen who are going round harassing traders purporting to be NEMA officers.

        “We have liaised with the County Commissioner to track down the imposters but we are asking members of the public to be on the lookout,” he said.