19 March 2019

Kenya: Nema Now Slaps Ban on 'Uhuru' Bags

The National Environment Management Authority (Nema) has slapped a ban on non-woven bags.

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.

In a notice on local dailies on Tuesday, Nema asked traders to halt manufacturing, importation, supply, distribution and use of non-woven polypropylene bags from March 31, 2019.

"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.

Public Notice: Ban on Manufacture, Importation, Supply, Distribution and Use of Non-Woven Polypropylene Bags in Kenya effective 31st March 2019 #PlasticBagBanKe @Environment_Ke @dailynation @TheStarKenya @StandardKenya @PeopleDailyKe @citizentvkenya @KAM_kenya @KEPSA_KENYA pic.twitter.com/HR29L0GghI

- NEMA Kenya (@NemaKenya) March 19, 2019

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.

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