The National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) is under scrutiny after arresting three traders in Nairobi yesterday, 17th February 2020, for using banned plastic bags.
According to NEMA, the three traders were in violation of Section 144 of the Environmental Management and Coordination Act (EMCA) which states, “Any person using banned bags is liable to 2-4 million shillings fine or imprisonment of 1-4 years.”
In a Twitter post made on Tuesday, 18 February 2020, NEMA announcing the arrest of the traders, comments trickled in condemning the arrest.
3 traders were arrested in Nairobi yesterday using banned plastic bags. About 500 pieces of the bags were seized. The trio are being presented in court today. According to Section 144 of EMCA, any person using banned bags is liable to 2-4 million fine or imprisonment of 1-4 years pic.twitter.com/kXUTS571FL
— NEMA Kenya (@NemaKenya) February 18, 2020
Kenyans on Twitter (KOT) were of the opinion that arresting the traders was not sensible and was uncalled for since the manufacturers of the plastic bags were still doing business.
“Why are the dealers producing and supplying the polythene bags in bulk still walking scot-free?” asked one of the tweeps.
Why are the dealers producing and supplying the polythene bags in bulk still walking scot-free??
Address the root cause of this problem! Stop treating symptoms!
They are getting those bags from somewhere! Arrest the dealers, those supplying!! That’s your work, Nema ,Kenya.🌎😞 https://t.co/wNNhY1bcOc
— Elizabeth Wathuti 🇰🇪 (@lizwathuti) February 18, 2020
The use of plastic bags was banned in Kenya in 2017, a move that was welcomed by mixed reactions across the country.
While the use of polythene paper bags for carrying goods seems to have being completely abandoned by Kenyans, the small packaging bags are still in use.
In the estates and small towns, the small packaging polythene bags are still being used to wrap chopped vegetables, sugar, rice etc.