National Environmental Management Authority Blog

Date for plastic carrier bags ban nears

By Anne Owino
With just 47 days for the plastic bags ban to take effect, the Authority has been working around the clock to create awareness on the ban. The ban is set to take effect from 28th August 2017.Plastic bags, polythene bags, paper bags they are called! Like a rainbow; they come in all colors, yellow, blue, red, black, green, white…name them! They are all over our roads, rivers, sewerage systems, on top of trees you could think it is an animal experimenting and looking for an ideal habitat.Plastic bags on trees.Almost everything around us is packaged and carried in plastic bags from food stuffs to other items but do we ask ourselves the impacts.In a gazette notice dated February 27, the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources banned the use, manufacture and importation of all plastic bags used for secondary packaging. The ban is meant to reduce the negative effects of plastic bags on human health and environment.

We all in one way or another have experienced the effects of plastics. During rainy seasons, the city of Nairobi floods, roads are impassable and suddenly the busy Nairobi comes to a standstill because the water ways have been blocked by paper bags. How much does that cost our economy? Sewerage systems get clogged spilling raw sewerage everywhere and you cannot even enjoy the fresh air in the city. Do you like that?

In the rural areas, the farms cannot produce much because the polythene bags on the farms release harmful chemicals to the soil making the lands less fertile. Domestic animals are dying in thousands due to swallowing plastics which destroy their digestive system and they eventually die.

Currently, countless number of Kenyans are dying of Cancer, families are spending a lot of money and selling their productive assets to treat their loved ones; research shows that plastics have a potential of causing cancer.

This is because chemicals used to produce plastics enter our bodies either directly or indirectly. The hot foods we carry in plastics, the fish we consume that have picked these plastic chemicals from the oceans and the foods we take from the plastic contaminated soil. These are just but a few among many.

It is said that change is the only permanent thing in this life and that progress is impossible without change. Therefore, as a nation we must be willing to accept this change to better our personal and environmental health.

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