ENVIRONMENT

Manufacturers stare at losses in carrier bag ban

A trader selling the alternative bags that are used in place of Paper bags on August 28,2017./victor imboto
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In Summary

• Manufacturers want five to six months to clear the stocks in place in hope that by this time, the regulators will have come up with proper standards that Kenya would wish to have

• KAM says predictability and consistency of Government policies should be central in attracting and retaining investors and protecting Kenyans from losing their jobs.

• Smuggling of plastic bag bans is still at largely from neighbouring Uganda, Tanzania and Burundi.

Local producers of non-woven bags are staring at losses in hundreds of millions of shillings following the ban on the manufacture, importation, and use of the bags by environment regulator.

On Tuesday, the National Environment Management Authority announced a ban on the light non woven polypropylene bags on the basis of low gauge and poor quality.

In 2017, the state agency banned the use of plastic bags and gave clarifications on acceptable alternative options to the plastic carrier bags which were affected by the ban.

However, the Kenya Association of Manufactures blamed the lack of standards to govern quality to the current flooding of substandard versions in the market.

Speaking to the Star on Phone, Foam Mattresses Managing director Jitu Patel said the poor quality bags seen in the market are largely cheap imports from China.

Patel, a manufacturer of the bags said he is likely to lose in excess of Sh100 million based on his current stock. This is in addition to having a redundant machine which cost him up to Sh20 million shillings.

“ We need five to six months to clear the stocks in place, hopefully by this time, the regulators will have come up with proper standards that Kenya would wish to have,” Patel said.

NEMA has only given the manufacturers 12 days to clear the current stocks.

According to Sophie Kinoti, a senior manager with KS Factory based in Meru, the decision by NEMA is poor, will lead to job losses and shut down of companies among others.

“ There was no public participation before instituting the ban, and no alternatives have been given to producers and consumers,” she said.

Kinoti who produces her stocks on order has fears that she might suffer unexpected maintenance expenses of her machines and station which cost her about Sh50 million.

The manufactures purchase the bags at Sh150 per Kilo and sell a single bag for between Sh6 and Sh8.

Eastern Region representative of the Kenya Association of Waste Recyclers Jedidah Kananu faulted NEMA for rushing to implement policies without proper public participation.

“Plastic bags are not completely out of the market, some traders still use them, NEMA should introduce effective policies to win the war against environmental pollution,” Kananu said.

The smuggling of plastic bags is largely from neighbouring Uganda, Tanzania and Burundi.

KAM's chief executive Phyllis Wakiaga said predictability and consistency in Government policies should be central in attracting and retaining investors and protecting Kenyans from losing their jobs.