Plastic bag drop-off centres empty as Kenyans opt to reuse
A week after Nema directed the public to discard plastic bags at designated centres, only a handful of residents in Nairobi have complied
The drop-off points for plastic bags are largely empty, a week after the government banned plastic shopping bags and directed Kenyans to discard the remaining ones at designated centres.
The drop-off points are located at all Nakumatt, Tuskys and Uchumi supermarket outlets.
By yesterday, a spot-check in Nairobi showed only Uchumi Sarit Centre branch had received some polythene bags wrapped in a small package.
This means many Kenyans may have decided to reuse the bags they have, rather than surrender them.
“We don’t pay for the returns, so it is for free,” a customer care official said.
The Environment ministry said the returns will not be incinerated but recycled.
“We are setting up a take-back scheme and are requesting supermarkets to be in charge of the take-back, from where licensed recyclers and other cleanup parties can pick up the bags,” CS Judi Wahungu said.
The ban took effect on August 28, and consumers are forced to embrace eco-friendly substitutes to avoid incurring a fine of Sh2 million-Sh4 million, or a jail term of one-two years, or both.
All manufacturers and importers are also expected to declare all their remaining stocks to the National Environment Management Authority for necessary action.
Last week, Nema flagged off its inspectors and environment police to inspect whether manufacturers have complied with the ban.
The officers are also making sure plastic bags are not available on sale at the counter or given freely outside the industrial setting.
“We’ll take everything we have and convert it into something usable, like having them woven into kiondo (bags) that can last for many years,” Nema director general Geoffrey Wahungu said.
They will roll out civic education targeting the “kadogo economy” before enforcing the law on consumers.
A cow rests within recyclable plastic materials at the Dandora dumping site on August 25