The National Environment Management Authority (Nema) has continued to experience pressure from manufactures who claim the ban is harmful to their business and operations. Some 100 million plastic bags are handed out every year in Kenya by supermarkets alone, according to the UN Environmental Programme. Environmentalists have praised the ban, saying it will help to minimize pollution. Manufacture, importation and use of plastic bags for primary industrial packaging and garbage collection were, however, exempted from the ban.
“What we believe as an association is we need a clean environment and economic development. The middle ground is sustainable development. We want a situation that is a win-win for every Kenyan,” said Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) chief executive Ms. Phyllis Wakiaga. This was on Wednesday 30th when Nema struck a deal with manufacturers to establish a joint crisis committee that will resolve outstanding issues arising from the ban on plastic bags. The technical teams drawn from the KAM and Nema will seek to iron out operating challenges associated with ban. The decision was made at a stormy meeting that brought together Nema director-general Geoffrey Wahungu and about 500 manufacturers of plastic bags
Producers of the bags, however, said they had been forced to suspend operations on Tuesday 29th because of “complexities in obtaining clearance,” from Nema. Nema had last week asked all manufacturers, importers and users of plastic bags for primary industrial packaging to obtain clearance letters allowing them to continue in the business. “The ban is a significant step to protect nature, but let everyone be included in its implementation,” said the Association of Kenya Suppliers chairman Kimani Rugendo in a statement. Nema had said earlier that the ban applies to carrier bags and flat bags constructed with handles and with or without gussets.
Kenya in March 2017 imposed a ban on the manufacture, use and importation of plastic bags for commercial and household packaging effective August 28.The Kenya Association of Manufacturers (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. Environment secretary Judi Wakhungu had earlier dismissed the 60,000 job losses figure by as an “exaggeration.”


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