Porous boarder cause of return of plastic bags, says NEMA

Porous borders with Uganda and Tanzania are hampering Kenya’s efforts to get rid of banned polythene bags with the commodity still finding its way to several towns, according to the National Environment Management Authority.

Nema said that 80 per cent of banned plastic bags were still finding their way into the country from neighbouring Uganda and Tanzania, dimming the agency’s hopes of registering 100 per cent success rate on the ban.

Nema Director-General Geoffrey Wahungu said the ban had so far registered 85 per cent success since it took effect in March last year.

“The fact that the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) passed the Plastics Material Control and Management Bill earlier than we did our ban hasn’t helped much because Tanzania and Uganda have not effected that legal provision,” said Prof Wahungu.

“We are stilling struggling, especially with Ugandan traders who have smuggled about 80 per cent of plastic bags into the country through porous borders,” he said,

Prof Wahungu urged county governments to participate in the fight against plastic bags.

Kenya banned the manufacture, importation and use of the bags in commercial and household packaging in August 2018, the third attempt in a decade to deal with the menace.

Since then, selling, manufacturing and possessing of the bags carries a fine of up to Sh4 million or a prison sentence of up to four years.

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