By Ben Ochieng’ and Christine
Lagat NAIROBI, (Xinhua) --
Kenya’s landmark plastic ban that took
effect on Monday received cautious welcome from
retailers who expressed concern over its impact on their
businesses despite its much touted environmental
scale retailers who spoke to Xinhua said that they were
not opposed to the ban since it would reduce
environmental pollution but urged authorities to provide
them with alternative packaging materials to stave off
transition from plastic bags to eco-friendly
alternatives is a laudable move. As small business
owners, we welcome this decision but hope the government
has put in place solid measures to cushion us from
financial losses,” George Wamba, a grocery store owner
at a Nairobi suburb remarked.
Secretary for environment and natural resources Judi
Wakhungu on Feb. 28 announced that the plastic ban will
be implemented at the end of August in a bid to boost
the country’s green credentials.
directive was however opposed by manufacturers who cited
loss of jobs and revenue to the exchequer.
court briefly suspended the plastic ban and directed
parties to resolve the issue amicably.
State clarified it will not backtrack on the decision to
phase out plastic carrier bags and urged manufacturers
and retailers to settle for eco-friendly alternatives.
the High Court on Aug. 26 ruled that the plastic ban was
still on paving the way for retailers to discard their
stockpiles or pay astronomical fines.
all walks of life expressed mixed feelings over the
plastic ban that was hailed by conservationists as a
giant step towards safeguarding the country’s green
people should be more conscious of the negative impact
plastic bags are having on the environment. At the same
time, we need to be mindful of small scale traders who
rely on plastic bags for packaging. They should not
suffer unnecessary losses,” said Elvin Obure, a Nairobi
chains were racing against time on the eve of the
plastic ban to discard the remaining stock and order
biodegradable packaging materials.
citizens are worried the plastic ban and the punitive
fines to be meted on any individuals and businesses that
do not comply might boomerang.
“I have no
problem if the ban will help save the environment from
harm but I think the authorities should have implemented
it in phases and educate the public on the
alternatives,” said Peninah Karugi, a hair dresser.
Rwanda and other East African countries that have
declared a ban on plastic bags citing their profound
negative impact on ecosystems and human health.
Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) in its latest
assessment disclosed that plastic carrier bags
contribute 9 per cent of total solid waste and are to
blame for 90 per cent of environmental degradation in
over thirty licensed plastic bag manufacturers with a
combined capital investment estimated at 80 million
plastic manufacturers employ 9,000 people who are
currently staring at job losses once the ban is
implemented in full.