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 Star (Kenya) - - Counties | Nairobi - BY JOHN MUCHANGI AND STEPHEN MULWA @TheS­tarKenya

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.

/ REUTERS

A cow rests within re­cy­clable plas­tic ma­te­ri­als at the Dan­dora dump­ing site on Au­gust 25

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