The National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) in Homa Bay County has raised complaints on the frustrations they face from the court despite working hard to eradicate the use of polythene bags.
Speaking to the press at his office, the County Director of Environment, Nyandoro Josiah said that the ban of polythene papers use and the law has had a problem regarding arrests of violators.
He revealed that people have been arrested and taken to court but the fine levelled against them is usually too little to deter the whole process.
The Director added, “I remember sometimes back we arrested 23 people found using the papers in one day but the court fined some of them an amount of Sh 3000 while others were fined Sh 10,000.”
This is against the law, according to the director as it is stated by the law that the fine should range between Sh 2million and 4 million.
He added that a person fined Sh 3000 by court will be encouraged to keep violating the Laws keeping in mind that the amount is little for anyone to raise and that is what is still happening in the county.
The Director further noted that in the last one and a half years they have been able to arrest 42 people with polythene bags who were the users since there are no manufacturers in the region.
He however pointed out that the few people they have been able to confiscate from are foreigners from Uganda and Tanzania since the ban has not been effected in those areas.
Nyandoro decried the inability by the department to get the real producers because the same population who are supposed to give out the intelligence have decided to remain confidential about the matter making the track down difficult.
“I understand that polythene bags are brought by motorcycles and vehicles and they know their specific targets,” Nyandoro said.
He further noted that polythene bags pose risks to animals, aquatic life adding they also cause blockage of drainages. “Polythene bags have so many bad effects on our environment including aquatic life,” he said.
The Director urged business persons using the bags for primary packages to apply for an exemption so long as they can demonstrate they have a take-back system of managing the wastes.
He said that only three categories of people have been exempted in Homa Bay citing the people selling omena, sukari nguru, and the cake bakers.
He however said, “We at NEMA are planning another operation very soon where we will visit all major towns and we shall be looking at the enforcement of polythene bags and those who will be found using them will be arrested and face the full force of the law.”
By Emily Adhiambo and Davis Langat