NEMA arrests 200 traders using the banned plastic bags in Kisumu

The National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) has apprehended more than 200 people found using the banned plastic bags in Kisumu County as of January 2024.

Kisumu County Director of NEMA, Leonard Ofula noted that there is a surge in the usage of the prohibited items in the lakeside County despite being outlawed by the government.

He claimed that plastic bags are being manufactured in the neighbouring countries of Uganda and Tanzania before being smuggled into the country through porous border points.

Ofula proposed that the neighbouring countries should also ban the use of single-use plastic bags to augment the fight against environmental pollution in the region.

The Authority, he added, conducts impromptu market searches every week to flash out traders using and circulating the plastic bags.

The culprits, the majority of whom are the mama mboga were presented before court and were issued with low fines of Sh. 2000 hence derailing the fight against plastic bags.

“The ban is still in place and anybody contravening the regulations risks a fine of not less than Sh.2 million, two years’ jail term, or both,” Ofula stated in an interview with KNA.

Vegetables and food vendors in Ahero and Awasi in Nyando sub-county are the most notorious for using the banned commodity.

The government outlawed the use of flat plastic bags in 2017. At that time, more than 100 million single-use plastic bags were being manufactured every year, making them the most commonly used carrier bags for shopping.

The flat plastic bags were banned because they clogged water drains and proliferated mosquito-borne diseases like malaria and the burning of plastic bags has been associated with the release of chemicals with carcinogenic effects and soil pollution.

He called on the County government to collaborate with NEMA in the campaign to end the use of plastic bags in the area.

 

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