Ten traders have been arrested for using banned plastic carrier bags at Oyugis market in Rachuonyo South Sub County in the ongoing crackdown conducted by National Environment Management Authority (NEMA).
During the impromptu crackdown, the authority officials confiscated 2, 495 pieces of plastic carriers.
The suspects arrested included distributors, suppliers and small scale traders who use the plastic carrier bags to wrap items such as groceries, charcoal, and sugar among others items.
Speaking to the press after the crackdown, the NEMA Regional Director in charge of South Nyanza Region, Jane Nyandika said that the crackdown was jointly conducted by NEMA officials and Kenya police who assisted them in nabbing the suspects.
She said the suspects contravened the gazette notice no 2536 which banned the use, manufacture and importation of plastic carrier bags for commercial and household packages.
“The distributors and handlers are the key suspects during the crackdown because they peddle plastic bags which degrade the environment,” Nyandika said.
The Director added that they have plans to sensitize the traders on the dangers of using plastic carrier bags, saying that Homa-Bay town touches Lake Victoria which they are preventing from being polluted.
“Off late, it has been found out that lake Victoria is a depository of most of the plastic bags and the lake is a source of livelihood for many Kenyans therefore NEMA is committed to ensure the environment is clean and healthy for wildlife and fish,” the Director commented.
Nyandika added that NEMA in collaboration with other leading agencies has teamed up to ensure the plastic carrier bag ban that came into force two years ago is implemented.
NEMA has managed to mobilize enough resources to enable them eliminate all the plastic carrier bags in the environment.
She said that the authority however has a team which scrutinizes the list of applicants who must use the plastic bags with an aim of giving them an exemption letter.
The officer further called upon all who must use plastic bags to use a proper channel to avoid trouble during the crackdowns by NEMA.
The arrested victims will be arraigned in Oyugis law court soon to face charges of flouting the law as the crackdown continues in the other Sub-Counties within Homa-Bay County.
Other NEMA officials who were present during the crackdown, included Homa Bay County Director, John Maniafu, his counterpart for Migori, James Siaji Omondi and Leonard Ofula of Kisii.
By Natasha Kanisa/Davis Langat