• May 20, 2024
  • Last Update May 20, 2024 4:07 PM
  • Nairobi

NEMA prohibits garbage collectors from using plastic bags

Environment

By Peter Ochieng

The National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) has announced a ban on the use of plastic bags, in collection and disposal of garbage.

NEMA in a public notice dated 8th April, 2024, issued on Monday afternoon, and seen by Nairobi Review, said the ban takes effect after 90 days, from the date of the notice.

“From the foregoing therefore, and to ensure environmentally sound management of the organic waste fraction, the Authority hereby directs that within 90 days from the date of this notice,” the public notice reads in part.

NEMA says within 90 days, all waste generated by households, private sector and public sector institutions, religious institutions, private and public functions and events; shall strictly be segregated and placed in 100 percent biodegradable garbage bags or bin liners only.

The waste, NEMA adds shall be collected separately and transported to a designated material recovery facility, for further processing.

Further, NEMA directed that the use of conventional plastic bags/bin liners for collection of organic waste shall thus cease forthwith.

All county governments and private waste service providers licensed by NEMA have been tasked with providing to their clients, the 100 percent biodegradable garbage bags or bin liners only.

The authority states that section 12 of the Sustainable Waste Management Act, 2022, requires all public and private sector entities to segregate non-hazardous waste into organic and non-organic fractions.

The segregated waste should then be placed in properly labelled and colour coded receptacles, bins, containers and bags, besides all waste service providers being required to collect, handle and transport segregated waste.

The latest ban comes over 5 years after NEMA outlawed the manufacture, importation and use of plastic carrier bags for commercial and household packaging, in a bid to champion environmental conservation.

The move led to entry of biodegradable carrier bags into the market. The bags are commonly referred to us ‘Uhuru bags.’

Addressing a high level segment of the 6th session of the United Nations Environmental Assembly at Gigiri, Nairobi, President William Ruto urged the global community to support Africa’s bid to have a plastic pollution treaty.

“I urge the global community to advance towards a climate neutral, resource efficient and circular economy. We commend the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) for its role in the intergovernmental negotiations for the global plastic treaty,” he noted.

About a year ago, NEMA banned tree nursery growers from the use of plastic seedling potting bags. 

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