From Monday National Environment Management Authority, NEMA starts arresting the importers, producers, and consumers of the popular polypropylene bags sold in supermarkets and other retail stores.
This follows a directive made by NEMA Director-General Geoffrey Wahungu on March 19, announcing the ban on non-woven polypropylene.
According to the NEMA boss, the government will not give those affected amnesties. He urged Kenyans to co-operate in conserving the environment.
“We are just implementing a ban that came into effect in 2017; this is not a new order. Those selling and manufacturing the materials should cease or the law shall take its course,” Prof Wahungu cautioned.
Prof Wahungu stated that the ban will be in force until the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) develops and gazettes a standard that will inform the quality of non-woven bags needed in the country.
He added that the importers and producers of the bags should take the blame for refusing to seek advice from the authority.
“You should even have consulted KEBS. You refused to heed our calls then later you start crying foul asking where NEMA was when you started producing the non-woven carrier bags. We did not allow usage of such bags in Kenya,” he stated.
Some scientists are of the view that polypropylene is actually worse than the condemned plastic, as the two are made from the same material.
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When it gets into the water, it releases plastic particles and contaminates it.
Kenyans started using the non-woven polypropylene carrier bags when plastic bags were banned on August 28, 2017.
Hundreds of jobs were estimated to have been lost when factories making plastic bags were shut down. Those producing the non-woven packaging materials could now face a similar fate.