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September 20, 2017

Time to do away with very light plastic bags

A shopper carrying goods in a plastic bag. /COURTESY
A shopper carrying goods in a plastic bag. /COURTESY

Environment and Natural Resources Cabinet Secretary Judi Wakhungu deserves wide support for her efforts to ban certain kinds of plastics that mess up the ecosystem, drainage and agriculture.

However, it needs to be understood that this is not a blanket ban on all plastic bags or containers. It should affect only 30-micron bags, such as those that are used to vend watermelon and pineapple slices and are one-use, one-time only.

These very small micron plastics do not disintegrate and yet they are thrown away daily as litter, entering drains and clogging them and thereby causing flooding, especially in urban areas.

Being very thin they tear quickly and are also disposed of in waterways.

Heavy plastic bags last a long time and have multiple uses.

The ban should focus on up to 60-micron plastic bags, or only those that are light enough to be blown away by the wind.

This fourth attempt by government in recent years to do away with plastic bags should be supported by as many Kenyans as possible.

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