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NEMA nabs distributors with over 350,000 pieces of banned plastic bags

The National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) has arrested two distributors who had over 350,000 pieces of assorted plastic bags which they were selling at the main Machakos market.

The operation was a joint effort between NEMA Officials from Nairobi, Machakos and Police officers from Machakos town who acted on a tip off from one of their officers.

Parnwell Simitu who is the Machakos County Director of Environment NEMA, while speaking to the media on Tuesday at Machakos police station, said that they had planned to do reinforcement of plastic bags ban and arrested two distributors in the market with over 350,000 banned plastic bags.

“We have done a lot of intelligence to nab the two distributors and we hope by arresting them, it will help clear the plastic bag menace in Machakos,” said Simitu.

He said the culprits have been booked at the Machakos police station as they wait to be taken to court in accordance with the law.

Simitu appealed to the public to refrain from using plastic bags because they have a negative impact on the environment since they cause pollution when burnt and were a danger to livestock.

He said they would continue to do reinforcement in all major towns so as to get rid of all the plastic bags that are spreading in markets.

“NEMA is committed and we will do whatever it takes to ensure we wipe out all the plastic bags in the country,” added the Nema Director.

Simitu pointed out they are pursuing other sources of plastic bags such as the illegal manufacturers of the bags who are based in Nairobi and others who are transporting them through the borders.

“We are giving a stern warning to all those who are involved in the manufacturing and distribution of plastic bags, that your days are numbered and you will face the wrath of the law,” warned Simitu.

He pointed out that in March, there were other arrests in Mavoko Sub County and so far, they have stabilized and were no longer selling nor using plastic bags.

Simitu said that the government banned the use of plastic bags in the year 2017 in an attempt to free the environment from non-biodegradable waste hence making Kenya one of the countries to ban plastic bags globally.

Earlier in January, NEMA officers from Machakos arrested six people in Mlolongo market and Athi River for using banned plastic bags to sell their products.

The grocery traders were nabbed from their shops within the Mlolongo open-air market whre they were found in possession of the banned plastic bags that they were using to serve their customers.

Simitu who was leading the operation said they organized the random inspection because they realized there was an increase in use of banned plastic bags in Mlolongo and urged the public to desist from using them.

By Anne Kangero

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