Nema accused of selective pursuit of law on plastics

Thursday, May 9th, 2024 06:14 | By
Plastic bags. PHOTO/Print
Plastic bags. PHOTO/Print

Some manufacturers are alarmed over what they term selective enforcement of the ban on use of plastic bags.

They claim that Kenya’ global acclaim for its advancements in environmental conservation through the courageous ban on plastics may be compromised by the government’s failure to enforce its own directives.

Officials of the National Environment Management Authority (Nema) have been accused of turning a blind eye to violations in exchange for personal gain.

Despite the 2017 plastics ban which won international acclaim in Kenya’s fight against solid waste, it is emerging that some millers continue to flout the law, endangering both the country’s fragile ecosystem and public health.

David Kimani, a sustainability and environmental advocate, says that only through decisive action can Kenya uphold its commitment to a cleaner, greener future, adding that Nema should be fair and transparent in its dealings.

“The discrepancy in pricing between plastic-packaged products and eco-friendly alternatives highlights systemic issues within our regulatory framework,” he said adding that Nema must step up and enforce the ban consistently to a level the playing field for all stakeholders.

However, Nema’s Director overseeing environmental compliance, enforcement, and field operations David Ongare says the organization is making efforts towards enforcement.

He notes that some millers are skeptical on using plastic due to their duty fee which is higher while acknowledging that discussions are being handled at higher levels of government.

“The last two meetings with the association took place around December 2023 and another beginning of 2024. This is because a number of millers are pushing to use plastic for secondary packaging as opposed to primary packaging. This is the bone of contention as they say duty on paper is high,” Ongare said.

But a miller who sought anonymity has voiced his exasperation over Nema’s shortcomings in the enforcement of plastics bags.

The miller pointed out that those who flout Nema directives often sell their products at inflated prices, reaping substantial profits, while ethical millers bear the brunt of the consequences, allowing lawbreakers to prosper unchecked.

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