CAUTION

Manufacturers warn of massive closure in total plastic ban

Nairobi County is seeking to amend the Plastic Control Act 2016.

In Summary

•There is a proposal to completely ban the manufacture, import, export, use or offer for sale plastic carrier bags and plastic bags.

•This will affect the entire plastic industry, including bottled water and food containers among others.

Hawkers selling soft drinks during a past event in Kakamega High school. /FILE
Hawkers selling soft drinks during a past event in Kakamega High school. /FILE

Firms that package water in plastic bottles have warned of a massive ripple effect if a total ban on non-reusable plastic material in imposed.

Four years after Kenya outlawed the use of single-use plastic bags, Nairobi County sees to amend the law for a complete ban on the manufacture, import, export, use or offer for sale plastic carrier bags and plastic material.

The proposed amendment of the Plastic Control Act 2016 seeks to delete “plastic carry bags” and replace it with “plastic material”, which will affect the entire plastic industry, including bottled water and food containers among others.

The county is seeking public input in the Bill by Dandora Area III MCA, Charles Thuo,with a submission deadline of Friday, July 16.

“Any person who contravenes this is liable, upon conviction, a term of not less than one year and not more than four years or a fine of not less than Sh2 million and not more than Sh4 million, or both,” the Bill reads in part.

It seeks to establish a legal framework for the total prohibition/ban of packaging of food in all plastic material by amending the parent Act, which had provided partial prohibition of packaging food products in plastic carry bags and containers.

However, the National Environmental management Authority may authorise the manufacturer, import, export or use of plastic flat bags for industrial packaging only in accordance with the provisions of the Environment Management and Co-ordination (Plastic Bags Control and Management) Regulations 2018.

Yesterday, water bottlers and dealers' lobby–Water Bottlers Association of Kenya (WBAK) said a move to place a total ban on plastic material will be detrimental to the economy.

These includes financial loss to government where Kenya Revenue Authority stands to lose up to Sh4 billion in revenues from the water sector of bottled water alone.

Over 1,100 companies packaging water will be affected if a total ban is placed, WBAK chairman Henry Kabogo adds, with over 50 companies manufacturing plastic containers facing closure.

“The same amendment is corny, it is coming before National Government Bill,The Sustainable Waste Management Bill 2021. This is the bill that should come first not putting the cart before the horse,” Kabogo said.

It shall also slow access to clean and safe water which is a fundamental right, he argues.

“How shall our kids be carrying water to school..with glass, which is heavy, dangerous and might be a weapon,” he wrote to the Star yesterday.

WBAK further argues that the county has a budget for collection and the mechanism that should be put in place is separation of waste.