NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
The Kenyan government said on Wednesday that it
will outlaw the manufacture and import of plastic bags from
August for damaging the environment.
Natural Resources Cabinet Secretary Judi Wakhungu said in a
gazette notice that all plastic bags used for commercial and
household packaging will be banned from Aug. 28.
“It is notified to
the public that the cabinet secretary for environment and
natural resource has with effect from six months from the date
of this notice (Feb 28) banned the use, manufacture and
importation of all plastic bags used for commercial and
The ban will affect
carrier which is constructed with handles and with or without
gussets; and flat bag constructed without handles and with or
The ban is on bags
up to 0.06 millimetres (60 microns) in thickness which winds
often carry hundreds of kilometres from their source of origin.
The government has
advised manufacturers of plastic bags in the East African nation
to adopt new technologies of making biodegradable bags.
plastic bags have been cited as a top environmental nuisance
across the region, but Kenya is adamant that a total ban will
devastate its manufacturing base, with huge job losses expected.
Nairobi alone handles 86,000 bags daily.
The country’s first
attempt in 2007 at cleaning up the country by banning the
manufacture and import of bags of up to 0.03 millimetres (30
microns) did not succeed.
Of all five members
of the East African Community—Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania
and Uganda—only Rwanda (since 2008) and Tanzania (in January)
have so far successfully banned all plastic bags, and replaced
them with paper bags.
In January, Tanzania
followed Rwanda in effecting a total ban on plastic bags, which
is also expected to hit Kenyan manufacturers hard, as the
country has been a major export market.
lauds Kenya’s plastic bags ban
By Peter Mutai NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
on Wednesday commended Kenya for banning all production, use and
import of plastic bags.
Director Erik Solheim said the move that will take effect in
August is expected to inspire others and help drive further
commitments to the Clean Seas campaign.
“Plastic waste also
causes immeasurable damage to fragile ecosystems on land and at
sea and Kenya’s decision is a major breakthrough in our global
effort to turn the tide on plastic,” Solheim said in a statement
issued in Nairobi.
Secretary for Environment and Natural Resources Judi Wakhungu on
Wednesday announced a ban on the use, manufacture and import of
all plastic bags, to take effect in six months.
came just three weeks after the UNEP declared a war on plastic
through its new Clean Seas initiative, which has secured
commitments to address major plastic pollution from ten
Some 100 million
plastic bags are handed out every year in Kenya by supermarkets
alone, posing a challenge to the country’s urban waste disposal,
particularly in the poorest communities where access to disposal
systems and healthcare is limited.
Plastic bags have
been identified as a major cause of environmental damage and
health problems. They kill birds, fish and other animals that
mistake them for food, damage agricultural land, pollute tourist
sites and provide breeding grounds for the mosquitoes that carry
malaria and dengue fever.
Kenya is the 11th
country to take action in support of the UN Environment
campaign. In Africa, Rwanda and Morocco have already banned
plastic bags and other countries are set to announce measures in
the coming weeks.