Tuesday, September 19, 2017
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The Council of Governor's position regarding ban on the use, manufacture and importation of plastic bags used for commercial and household purposes.

chairman H.E NanokOn 28th February 2017 the Cabinet Secretary Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources issued a Gazette Notice No. 2356 on ban of the use, manufacture and importation of all plastic bags. The ban came at a time when most Counties are struggling with the menace. The Fourth Schedule of the constitution provides that County Governments are responsible for refuse removal, refuse dumps and solid waste disposal. Section 42 of the Constitution also provides that every person has the right to a clean and healthy environment, which includes the right to have the protected environment for the benefit of present and future generations through legislative and other measures.

The State has an obligation to ensure sustainable exploitation, utilization, management and conservation of the environment and natural resources, establish systems of environmental impact assessment, environmental audit and monitoring of the environment and eliminate processes and activities that are likely to endanger the environment.

Throughout the country, plastics are widely used as a key packing material in the manufacturing, trade, transport, agriculture and hospitality sector among others. Plastic bags however, form majority of the waste in Kenya. This waste has very adverse effects on our environment. Apart from taking a century to degrade, plastic bags inhibit absorption of soil nutrients and further lead to suffocation and indigestion in both land and aquatic life. Their burning in a bid to get rid of plastic garbage leads to release of toxic gases that are harmful to the atmosphere especially the O-zone layer.

Plastic garbage also block pipes and trenches that are used for drainage of waste water. As such they form part of the hazardous waste that is categorized as persistent and toxic under the Environmental Management and Coordination (Amendment) Act 2015(CAP 387). It is in this regards that the Council of Governors held a meeting with Environment County Executive Committee members on 31st July 2017 to deliberate on the issue.

The Council of Governors therefore supports the ban and will work with the National Government and other stakeholders to ensure that the ban comes into effect. This is in line with Section 189 of the Constitution that provides for collaboration between the National and County Government in implementation of legislation. The Council urges the citizens to use alternative bags such as the manila paper, canvas, jute and biodegradable plastics. The Counties will therefore support the ban by collaborating with the National Government in enforcement of the ban, creating awareness on the ban and on appropriate, environmentally friendly alternatives.

H.E Josphat Nanok Chairman, Council of Governors

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