Plastic Bags Update: Court Orders Case to be Heard in September and Upholds Ban

The Court has ordered for the case to be heard and thereby not granted an injunction to stop the ban from being effected on the 28th August 2017.

The Courts also ruled that industrial plastic packaging does not fall within the scope of the ban on plastics. However NEMA FAQ only exempts Primary packaging, and NOT Secondary packaging and Exports as well as plain bags.

Industrial Primary packaging is subject to the following:

  • Extended Producer/User Responsibility and/or effective Take Back Schemes
  • Legibly and permanently labeled bags to indicate the name of the industry manufacturing the product, the end-user and physical addresses for ease of monitoring, traceability and therefore ease of enforcement intervention.
  • Keeping of inventory/record with the aim of implementing the take back scheme

However, the ban still affects Manufacturers who produce for commercial and household packaging.

We would like to clarify that as the Association of Manufacturers we have never been against the intent of the ban, which is to clean up our country, towards improving the quality of life for all citizens. We have only differed on the manner of its execution, which did not take into account adequate stakeholder consultation.

Yesterday’s (Friday, 25th August 2017) court decision means that from Monday next week, there will be no bags produced for commercial and household use in the entire industry. This will negatively affect manufacturing plastic sector economic contribution. The shutdown of many factories will also mean immediate termination of workers with no send-off packages and no alternatives provided.

Additionally, as much as garbage bags are exempted, citizens are expected to empty their garbage and re-use the same bags over and over again, posing a health and sanitation risk.

To enable all of us attain the goal for a clean environment it is important that all stakeholders are engaged to develop measures that allows the country to set up alternatives for a smooth transition from plastic bags.

We are hopeful that during the hearing of the case, the Courts will recognise the laws in the country and the Constitution, that any regulation-making authorities should undertake appropriate consultation and impact assessment before issuing a policy directive – especially if the directive is likely to have direct or substantial effect on business and on the lives of citizens. In addition, the 6-month period was hardly enough notice for a country whose entire industry and population depends on these bags for packaging.

As the Association of Manufacturers, we had developed and presented a waste management solution to the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources and NEMA that has the potential to manage the country’s waste an in the process create more jobs for the people of Kenya. We implore the Ministry to look at executing this proposal owing to its potential to create sustainable economic growth.

We commit to continue offering our support to the Government on issues that impact our economy and the lives of the Kenyan Citizens, and we are confident that we will find a practical and environmentally- conscious solution to this issue.

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