We reiterate our strong support for plastics ban. We appreciate Environment CS Prof. Judi Wakhungu and NEMA DG Prof Geoffrey Wahungu for their strong conviction to end the plastics menace.
It has, however, come to our attention that enforcement of the ban is likely to run into challenges - significant missing public goodwill for the ban as well as limited access to alternatives. We have, for instance, noticed that green grocers have resorted to selling their wares at night to avoid the enforcement teams which operate by day.
The cost of alternative carrier bags offered at supermarkets is prohibitive. At between Sh40 to Sh100, on average, the bags are way too expensive. National Treasury needs to immediately zero-rate taxes on such alternative carrier bags to make them affordable.
We are equally aware that manufacturers and cereal millers have requested the Government for a 4-months period extension to transit from plastic to paper balers for packaging. They cite high plastic stocks and inadequate supply of paper considering the high demand occasioned by the plastic ban. We find it most reasonable and urge the Government to accede to the request.
Failure to grant the request by manufacturers would directly affect consumers in many ways; Prices of flour and other goods will go up. Besides, unscrupulous business people will turn to the black market for substandard paper balers.
Failure to make implementation of plastics ban strategically progressive could make the ban unsustainable and thereby erode the gains so far made.
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