Ban Halts Operations for Plastic Bag Makers in Kenya

Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) remarked that in spite of the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) allowing the production , importing and use of plastics for gathering waste and for primary industrial packaging, bag manufacturers are constrained to stop operations because of ‘complexities’ in acquiring clearance from NEMA.

Earlier, NEMA had asked all plastic bag makers, shippers and clients related to primary industrial packaging to get clearance letters. This would enable them to go ahead with the business. However, KAM expressed that the method to get the letters bore the said “complexities”, which compelled a few producers to halt pending clarity.

KAM pronounced that it has gotten formal notice from plastic bag producers of industrial and non-industrial packaging that with effect from 28th August 2017, they have briefly suspended their manufacturing and conveyance operations following the current restriction on plastics. The purpose behind the suspension is to ensure they get clarity with respect to proceeding with their operations.

As per KAM, the stoppages occurred in view of pending further clear course from NEMA. It said that a case of a complication that required clarity was the perplexing procedure of NEMA’s reclaim scheme, which was referred to by the latter as a precondition. It additionally griped about the irresolution on the labeling of packaging material and industrial packaging of consumer merchandise enterprises, and the resulting effect on the brands.

Nonetheless, in a fast counter Environment Secretary Prof. Judi Wakhungu rebuffed the claims, considering them an attempt to impede execution of the boycott.

She dismissed any inconveniences in the procedure, saying that NEMA had associated with the makers on the enactment of the boycott. She guaranteed “numerous Kenyans” had supported the boycott. She was cited saying, “Most Kenyans are complying with the ban. They are improvising in order to ensure we save our environment.”

Prof. Wakhungu mentioned support for the ban’s execution from the Council of Governors and Residents Associations. In any case, it was seen by KAM that production of some of the most significant family & household items, for example, salt and maize flour was halted due to lack in clarity.

KAM said that because of the use of flat plastic liners in fertilizers, the latter’s dissemination and supply will likewise presumably be influenced by the boycott. It asserted, “In addition to this, Kenya stands to lose export revenue because there is currently uncertainty about the manufacture of plastic flat bags used for packaging of flowers, fish, tea and EPZ exports.”

A random examination on the boycott’s second day by Business Daily disclosed that merchants were driven to improvise and oblige their clients. The ones that were hit hardest were fast food chains. Boutiques, shoe shops, chemists and other such stores looked for alternative packaging. A few shoppers also carried their buys in hand as they didn’t choose to purchase paper bags.

Be that as it may, a boom in business for alternative packaging material makers was noted. Chintan Vora, CEO of Thika based Bags and Balers stated, “We have increased our capacity based on a spike in new orders”. Meanwhile, several plastic bag companies were adversely hit by the ban. One of Kenya’s largest plastic bag companies mentioned that it had to cease operations distressing 600 workers.”

Kenyans are to take their plastic bag stock and drop it off at particular drop off areas, as indicated by a notice issued by NEMA, which will be gathered by the agency and recycled. It encouraged plastic bag makers to put resources into creating alternatives to suit the fresh demand, as NEMA declared it would execute the ban completely.

NEMA had specified before that the ban relates to flat bags and carrier bags made with/without gussets and with handles. At the point-of-sale, primary packaging is required which is intended to secure and carry the item. This applies mostly to items like pharmaceuticals, food and beverages.