NEMA Cracks Down on Illegal Use of Plastic Bags in County Markets

National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) on Friday, March 1, announced a crackdown on the unauthorized use of plastic bags within County markets in a resolute move to combat environmental hazards.

Since the prohibition of single-use plastic bags in 2017, NEMA has been on the front lines, actively enforcing the ban and urging compliance with eco-friendly practices.

Despite collaborative efforts with County market managers to uphold these environmentally conscious measures, the authority noted with concern continued use of the illegal bags within various County markets and business licensed by Counties.

An intriguing paradox pointed out by NEMA involves the strict regulations imposed on illicit items such as drugs, contrasting with what seems to be a lax attitude towards the use of banned plastic bags within these markets.

“Its ironical that market managers cannot allow sale of banned items such as bhang and other drugs, but are condoning use of banned plastic bags,” the statement read in parts.

NEMA mentioned that they have officially communicated with the Council of Governors, issuing stern warnings about the impending consequences for those found in violation of the ban on plastic bags.

A shopper risks arrest in Nakuru, Kenya, for carrying groceries in banned plastic bags in 2022. James Wakibia/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Market managers, entrusted with ensuring compliance, have been specifically directed to discourage the use of banned plastic bags and promote the adoption of eco-friendly and biodegradable alternatives.

In a clear commitment to preserving the environment, NEMA is ready to take strong enforcement measures against market managers who allow the use of banned plastic bags.

Under the authority granted by Section 145 of the Environmental Management and Coordination Act (EMCA), 1999, NEMA has the power to close markets where the illegal use of plastic bags continues.

Kenya banned the use of plastic carrier bags in 2017, prompted by environmental and health costs. At the time, more than 100 million single-use plastic bags were handed out every year, making them the most commonly used carrier bags for shopping.

Several other African countries have outlawed plastic carrier bags, including Rwanda, Mauritania and Eritrea.

Mr. Ogonji is a highly professional and talented journalist with a solid experience in covering compelling stories, reporting facts, and engaging audiences. He is driven to uncover the truth behind today's most pressing issues and share stories that make a genuine impact.

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