A ban on non-woven polypropylene shopping bags has been issued effective March 31.
The non-woven bags, introduced in 2017 after the ban on plastic, were initially deemed to be eco-friendly. The market has however been flooded with low quality versions which the authority says can not be used multiple times and are disposed after single use.
On Tuesday, the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) banned the bags saying:
“Until the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KeBS) gazettes a standard that will inform the quality of non-woven bags needed in the Kenyan market, this single-usage of these bags will eventually lead to heavy environmental consequences due to poor disposal practices currently being experienced in the country coupled with the lack of requisite infrastructure to sustainably manage these bags,” read part of the statement.
Failure to comply will attract a fine of not less than Sh2 million and not more than Sh4 million, or imprisonment of a term of not less than one year but not more than four years or to both.
The Environment Ministry had in August 2017 banned the use, manufacturing and importation of plastic bags used for commercial and house hold packaging.
The non-woven bags, christened Uhuru bags, were preferred as an alternative.