The National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) has arrested 6 people in Mlolongo market, Athi River for using banned plastic bags to sell their products.
The grocery traders were nabbed from their shops within Mlolongo open-air market Monday and found in possession of the banned plastic bags that they were using to serve customers.
Addressing the press at Mlolongo Police Station Monday, Machakos County NEMA Director of Environment Parnwell Simitu said they raided the market, arrested those found using banned plastic bags and booked them at the police station.
“Today (yesterday) we raided Mlolongo market and arrested 6 people whom we have booked at Mlolongo police station and will go to court to face charges for using banned plastic bags,” said Simitu.
Simitu said they organized the random inspection because they realized there was an increase in use of banned plastic bags and urged the public to desist from using them.
He added the plastic bags negatively affect the environment by making the soil infertile, interfering with animal intestines and making them emaciated hence losing their value.
Simitu warned the public and especially suppliers and distributors that the law will catch up with them because the polythene bags are not environmentally friendly since they take time to decompose and that’s why they were banned in 2017.
On her part, a NEMA official from Nairobi headquarters Sophie Mutemi noted that there are people who are importing the banned bags from other countries and the authority will not rest until they face the law.
She said that the operation has been ongoing since the beginning of the year and that in the southern region, they have already done the crackdown in Kathonzweni and Makindu markets in Makueni County.
“NEMA has been carrying out this crackdown nationally since January 1 and there are inspectors deployed in every County accompanied by police officers who are undertaking the operations,” said Mutemi.
NEMA banned the use of plastic bags in 2017 in an attempt to free the environment from non-biodegradable waste hence making Kenya one of the countries to ban plastic bags globally.
The Authority has also taken major steps to deal with the plastic bags crisis including surveillance and enforcement.
By Rachael Kilonzo and Ann Kangero