Kenyans across the country were on Monday forced to start adjusting to the fact that they will no longer be using plastic bags for shopping.
Following a Gazette notice, Monday, 28th 2017 was the day when orders on the ban of the use of plastic bags were to be executed and as the reality hits most people, plastic bags will no longer be part of their lives.
According to the National, Environmental Management Authority (NEMA), a spot-check was and will continue being carried out across the country by their officers so as to ensure that the move is being taken with the needed seriousness and those who will go against it will face the arm of the law.
Both retailers and shoppers seem to have abided by the law as they were seen selling and carrying goods and shopping in the required bio-friendly bags.
Supermarkets, on the other hand, have invented various biodegradable shopping bags for their customers that range from 5 shillings to 50 shillings depending on the size. The good thing about these bags is that, apart from being environmentally friendly, they can also be reused a number of times, meaning that one is able to carry it when going back for shopping so as to cut down on costs of buying them every time.
The ban took effect on a day that long queues characterized counters in major supermarket chains as parents rushed in for last minute back-to-school shopping for the third term.
Under the Nema regulations, use of the polythene bags now attracts fines of between 2 million shillings and 4 million or two years’ imprisonment.
Volunteer group Greenpeace Africa said the ban on plastic bags would help mitigate health and environmental effects of the non-bio degradable materials.
“As we welcome this ban, we cannot forget the challenge that lies ahead of us in dealing with the tonnes of plastics already polluting our environment. The government should work with local communities and NGOs to look for sustainable ways of recycling plastic into usable items,” said Greenpeace Africa’s executive director Njeri Kabeberi.
Despite the fact that change is always hard to be embraced, the benefits for the ban of using plastic bags are more. This is why Kenyans seem to have embraced the ban positively as they keep figuring out new ways of carrying shopping and other goods.