28 August 2017

Kenya: Governors to Assist Enforce Plastics Ban From Monday

Photo: Benson Momanyi/Daily Nation
(file photo)

Nairobi — Governors have pledged to help the National Government to enforce the plastics bag ban that takes effect on Monday.

In a statement, the Council of Governors stated that County Governments will further create awareness on the ban and offer environmentally friendly alternatives.

Chairman of the Council Josphat Nanok indicated plastic garbage block pipes that are used for drainage and thus form part of the hazardous waste categorised as toxic under the Environmental management and Coordination (Amendment) Act.

"Their burning in a bid to get rid of plastic garbage leads to release of toxic gases that are harmful to the atmosphere especially the ozone layer," he stated.

"The Council of Governors supports the ban and will work with the National Government and other stakeholders to ensure that the ban comes into effect. This is in line with section 189 of the Constitution that provides for collaboration between the National and County Governments in implementation of legislation," he stated.

He further explained that apart from taking a century to degrade, plastic bags inhibit absorption of soil nutrients and further lead to suffocation and ingestion in both land and aquatic life.

On Friday, the High Court declined to suspend the legal notice by Environment Cabinet Secretary Judi Wakhungu giving importers and manufactures a six months notice to adjust to new packaging requirements.

Judge Bernard Eboso refused to halt implementation of the gazette notice saying granting such an order would offend the country's constitutional and legal framework on protection and management of the environment.

According to the judge, CS Wakhungu rightly issued the notice which had been faulted by Kenya Manufactures Association (KMA) and two others on grounds that it was ambiguous and without participation of key stakeholders.

The court also rejected assertions by the petitioners that they stand to suffer irreparable economic loss if the injunction is not granted pending determination of the case.

The Kenya Manufacturers Association (KAM) had implored the court to stay implementation of the notice until the issue is deliberated and a decision is agreed upon by all the key stakeholders.

The move to ban plastic bags was also contested on grounds that livelihoods of many people will be affected negatively.

However the State had urged the court not to suspend the notice arguing that the ban is part of the government's commitment to control pollution.

The court was told to find that the six months notice given to stakeholders was reasonable for them to adjust.

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