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Govt bans plastic packaging after two failed attempts

Kenyans have until the end of August to use plastic bags for packaging, after which they will be banned for good.

Environment Cabinet Secretary Judy Wakhungu has issued a gazette notice informing Kenyans that six months from February 28, all consumers and manufacturers will not be allowed to package goods in plastic bags.

“It is notified to the public that the Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Natural Resources has with effect from 6 months from the date of this notice banned the use, manufacture and importation of all plastic bags used for commercial and household packaging,” stated Prof Wakhungu in a notice that was published on Tuesday.

TWO CATEGORIES

In the notice, the minister states that the banned plastic bags fall in in two categories — carrier bags and flat bags. She defines a carrier bag as one that is “constructed with handles, and with or without gussets” while a flat bag is one that is “constructed without handles, and with or without gussets”.

(In tailoring, a gusset is defined as an extra piece of clothing sewn into another cloth to make it wider, stronger or more comfortable.)

Previous efforts to abolish the use of plastic bags have failed, and it remains to be seen if the latest ban will bear fruit.

In January 2011, the National Environmental Management Agency (Nema) declared a ban on below 0.6 millimetres in thickness but no results were achieved by the move.

In 2007, the government had issued a ban against bags below 0.3 millimetres in thickness, which also failed.