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NEMA raises alarm on return of plastic bags

National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) Kisumu County Director Leonard Ofula has cautioned traders against the use of banned single-use plastic bags.

He said plastic bags were slowly finding their way back on the shelves six years after they were banned.

Ofula said the products were getting into Kisumu through the porous borders of Kenya-Uganda and Kenya-Tanzania, with those involved in the trade distributing them to small traders in the area.

He said most of the products were from neighbouring Uganda, where they have not been banned, adding that NEMA was seeking collaboration with other agencies to stop the trend.

Use of the bags is rampant at market places where traders use them to package various commodities, including vegetables and edible oils, he added.

Ahero market, he said, was the most notorious and NEMA has mounted a crackdown to wipe out the products from the market.

Ofula said the campaign has, over the last year, netted 26 suspects who were arraigned in court and fined.

However, he noted that the fines prescribed by the law were small and therefore not deterrents, explaining why the menace was still rampant in the area.

“We are in talks with the courts to impose hefty fines so that once a person is charged and fined, they can at least feel the pain of the fine so that they don’t go back to the same business. A fine of Sh2,000 is way too low,” he said.

He asked members of the public to join hands with NEMA and volunteer information to lead to the arrest of more suspects.

By Feliciah Wanyonyi and Zipporah Akoth

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