Former Taita Taveta Governor John Mruttu has backed the ban on the importation, manufacture and use of plastic bags in the country.

National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) and the Environment Ministry in conjunction with the police are currently conducting a crack-down against the manufacture and consumption of plastic bags following their ban which was effected Monday.

Mruttu said the ban will help develop local industries which were for long grounded by the manufacture of plastic bags.

“Ban on plastics bags will result in increased demand for our traditional baskets,” Mruttu said on Monday.

NEMA is sending inspectors and environment police to check whether manufacturers of plastic bags have complied with the ban that commenced Monday.

Consumers, following the ban, will now be forced to use environmentally friendly substitutes or risk facing fines of up to Sh4 million and/or server a jail term of up to four years.

The ban on plastic bags was effected August 28.  Photo: pinterest.com

All manufacturers had until Monday to declare remaining stocks to NEMA for necessary action.

Officers will ensure plastic bags aren’t used for sale or given freely outside industrial allowances.

Read: NEMA dispatches officers to ensure plastic bags ban compliance

Environment CS Judi Wakhungu through a February 27 Gazette notice banned the use, manufacture and importation of all plastic bags for commercial and household packaging.

Speaking in Nairobi, NEMA Director General Geoffrey Wahungu said they will roll out civic education targeting the “kadogo economy” before enforcing the law on consumers.

The law will be enforced with the assistance of the county governments and NEMA inspectors.

“We are asking members of the public not to be worried because most of them are in a dilemma. We will first give them adequate notice to get alternatives,” he said.

Garbage liners are exempted on condition that they are clearly labeled. The liners will not be dumped together with the waste, but will be emptied and reused or recycled by the licensed waste collector and transporter.

Bags used for collection of garbage and hazardous materials such as medical waste, chemicals and waste liners are also exempted from the ban.