#AfriTravel: Kenya bans the use of plastic bags

2017-12-18 11:43 - Kavitha Pillay
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Plastic shopping bag. (iStock)

Cape Town - Kenyan Government is making massive strides in practicing environmental responsibility by banning the use of plastic bags at supermarkets and shopping outlets.

The country - which earlier this year built the first boat made entirely of recycled ocean plastic to sail along the coasts of Kenya, Tanzania and Mozambique before arriving in South Africa - will impose fines on those people who violate the ban.

Those found to be in violation of the ban will see a maximum fine of up to US $38 000 (R496 213.11 @R13.06/$) or serve a four-year prison term.
 
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While some exemptions apply - such as for industrial purposes - the ban applies to the use, manufacture and importation of plastics.

This also includes plastic bags coming into Kenya via the main transport hubs, especially airports. Duty-free plastic bags, sealed tamper-evident bags and small 1-litre liquid bags are part of the restriction.

Travellers must not pack plastic bags 

The National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) is setting up an exchange kiosk in the arrivals hall at Nairobi International Airport to ensure minimal impact from arrivals at the airport.
 
Travellers are requested to avoid packing plastic bags in their checked-in luggage as they could face charges, and to also not take any plastic bags with them to the airport on departure.
 
"A recommendation is to bring along eco-friendly travel bags which could be used for purchases while in Kenya, and which are safe for airport travel, transit and departure," says Thompsons Travel.

SEE: #EcoTravels: Cape Town businesses join way forward for clean oceans and climate change

Kenya's ban on plastic bags was announced at a recent United Nations Environmental Assembly in Nairobi. The news comes as South Africa's V&A Waterfront also announced that the company is set to ban plastic bags and bottles from the precinct.

While the decision is a positive step towards environmental sustainability, there have been reports that some "leaders appear to be in a dilemma over the use of plastics in other areas", with environmental experts questioning how the government would deal with plastic paper used to package bread and other food items.

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