Kenya is not the first country in the world to take measures against the use of plastic, one of the most polluting materials for taking hundreds of years to degrade. But the harshness of the regulations approved by this country in February of this year, which had only six months of transition until its implementation, is striking. Today, the deadline has been met.
The measure was necessary because each year about 100 million plastic bags are distributed in supermarkets in the main cities of Kenya, about 24 million plastic bags per month. Much of it ends up adrift, polluting the environment, although it accounts for only 9% of total waste.
Specifically, the import, manufacture and use of plastic bags is prohibited. Failure to comply with the rule includes onerous financial penalties and jail time.
On the website of the National Environmental Management Authority of Kenya it is reported: “in accordance with article 144 of the EMCA (law passed last February), any person who violates the official provision (on plastic bags) will be sanctioned with a fine of no less than between 19,000 to 38,000 dollars, or a penalty of between one and four years in prison ”.
Kenya has been praised for its move by the Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), Erik Solheim:
“Kenya should be commended for its environmental leadership. It is a great example that I hope will inspire others and help drive new commitments. "
What do citizens think
Kenyans are asked to use bags made of biodegradable materials, canvas, paper or jute from the measure. But they are not easy to come by and the costs are high.
The manufacturers of plastic balls were also affected by the measure, since it is supposed a loss of 80,000 jobs.
With information from: