Despite government’s ban on the use of polythene bags, the contraband goods still find their ways among the small-scale traders.
While the ban has largely been considered a success, the bags are widely in use albeit incognito after a spot check in Murang’a County revealed that the environmentally unfriendy gunny bags were very much available.
Speaking to KNA at his office last Thursday, the County Director of Environment Mr. Jackson Muturo said the fight against the banned bags required a multi-agency approach to coclusivle deal with the menace.
“To completely eradicate polythene bags, a multiagency co-operation is required. The police, Kenya Business Licensing Board, Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) and county government should put concerted effort to eliminate use of the bags,” Muturo said.
He observed that due to the porous borders, smuggling of the bags is easily done without raising suspicion to the authorities.
Muturo also noted that small scale traders are using tricks to evade raids and arrest by using the bags to wrap goodd at night.
“Traders have started using clever ways to avoid arrest. They are opting to use the banned bags at night hence evading arrest by NEMA officers,” he noted.
He urged the Kenya Business Licensing Board to closely monitor and follow up issuance of licenses to small scale traders and make sure they know the type of trade involved.
“I urge Kenya Business Licensing Board to ensure they follow up with the traders to ensure the business they are operating is legitimate. Some traders are acquiring trade licenses to sell milk as a cover-up and they use it to sell polythene bags rather than the intended business,” Muturo stated.
Muturo also urged Kenya Bureau of Standards (KEBS) to put standardized measures on non-woven bags to ensure they are durable and last long.
He asked officers of KEBS and Kenya Revenue Authority to be vigilant with goods entering through the country’s borders so as to ensure no polythene bags are allowed to find their way in the country.
The official also said that there is need for the government to employ more NEMA field officers to enhance their work force and enable them to curb smuggling of the commodities.
“There is shortage of NEMA officers especially at grassroots posing big challenge in the fight against use of banned polythene bags,” he added.
By Bernard Munyao and Everlyne Njeri