By Christine Lagat
The Kenyan government on Wednesday reiterated its commitment to
hold dialogue with manufacturers to end stalemate over
enforcement of a plastic ban.
Director General of
National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), Geoffrey
Wahungu, said that structured discussions with industry will
commence soon to find an amicable solution to rows linked to a
plastic ban that came into force on Monday.
“Our doors are open
to manufacturers of plastic packaging materials seeking clarity
on the ban that came into force two days ago. We have maintained
that the ban only affects a limited component of plastic bags
and have no intention to close factories that employ thousands
of Kenyans,” said Wahungu.
He spoke in Nairobi
during a meeting with members of Kenya Association of
Manufacturers (KAM) who expressed reservation on the
implementation of the ban.
Wahungu said the
state will in future hold a series of dialogue forums with
industry to shed light on the legal framework governing a ban on
manufacture and use of plastic bags.
“The plastic ban
that has received overwhelming support from the public is part
of a national solid waste management and is not meant to stifle
industrial progress in the country,” Wahungu said.
He said the plastic
ban exempts industrial packaging, fast-moving consumer goods,
pharmaceutical products and large polythene bags used for
garbage collection in cities.
Kenya enforced the
historic plastic ban on Aug. 28 earning the East African Nation
an enviable position in green stewardship.
sector, however, was opposed to the plastic ban, terming it a
threat to job creation and income generation.
A court case filed
by the manufacturing lobby was suspended last week, paving way
for its enforcement.
KAM CEO Phyllis
Wakiaga said investors were not opposed to the plastic ban but
wanted clarification on how it will impact on businesses.
we have always supported a balance between environmental
sustainability and economic growth. We look forward to fruitful
dialogue with the state to clear the air on contentious issues
surrounding the plastic ban,” said Wakiaga
KAM Director and
Head of the Legal Committee, Mucai Kunyiha, added that it is
important that new terminologies that are being introduced as
part of exemptions or new directives are understood uniformly by
“The issue of waste
is a complicated matter that needs the collaboration of all
stakeholders. If a body like NEMA does not have the capacity to
manage waste nationally, it is impossible for us as the business
community to do it solely, as expressed in the extended producer
responsibility directive issued by NEMA, just last week,”
Kenya’s manufacturers suspend
operations over plastic ban
NAIROBI, (Xinhua) --
Kenya’s umbrella body of industrialists said
Tuesday some firms have been forced to suspend their
manufacturing and delivery operations following the recent ban
on plastics by the government.
Association of Manufacturers (KAM) said the plastic bag makers
had wound up operations while some have relieved nearly
thousands of workers of their duties.
“KAM has received
formal notification from plastic bag manufacturers of industrial
and non-industrial packaging that with effect from Aug. 28 they
have temporarily suspended their manufacturing and delivery
operations following the recent ban on plastics,” KAM said in a
statement issued in Nairobi.
The lobby said the
reasons for the suspension are to enable them to get
clarifications on the following areas in order to continue their
are seeking clearing letters from the National Environment
Management Authority (NEMA) for both manufacturers and their
They are also
seeking clearance on the meaning of extended producer/user
responsibility and or effective manufacturer and user take back
schemes for manufacturers and customers.
The East African
nation in March imposed a ban on the manufacture, use and
importation of plastic bags for commercial and household
packaging effective Aug. 28.
The ban - the third
attempt in a decade - has seen Kenya join other environmentally
conscious nations in curbing the use of plastics.
KAM, which has been
opposed to the ban, claimed that more firms had closed their
operations and that the shutdowns would cause 60,000 job losses.
“We are talking of
60,000 direct jobs...then there are indirect jobs the traders
and the people they employ, transporters and others along the
value chain,” said KAM.
government has since dismissed the 60,000 job losses figure as
According to KAM,
some of the most important household products adversely affected
include salt and maize flour.
supply of fertiliser will also be disrupted because the flat
plastic liners used in their packaging are affected by the ban,”
said Kenya stands to lose export revenue because there is
currently uncertainty about the manufacture of plastic flat bags
used for packaging of, flowers, fish, tea and EPZ export.
manufacture for export are also affected and this will impact on
export revenues,” it said. The manufacturers were given six
months to clear their stock but they have argued that the time
was not enough.
Meanwhile, NEMA, the
environment watchdog has entered into an arrangement with
supermarkets for the collection and recycling of plastic bags.
Robert Orina, NEMA’s
chief enforcement officer, said recyclers have been asked to
collect the bags from supermarkets.
“We have contracted
recyclers and licensed them so the work can begin as soon as
they declare the types of plastic bags they can handle. We ask
individuals with plastic bags to take them to the nearest
supermarket,” he said on Tuesday.
NEMA said the ban on
plastic bags does not affect flat bags used in industrial
packaging. Director general Geoffrey Wahungu said on Friday that
industries will be allowed to use the bags for primary