The National Environment and Management Authority (Nema) plans to ban the use and manufacture of plastic bottles in three months’ time.

The ban will be effected if manufacturers of plastic bottles will not have come up with a plan on how to recycle the bottles.

Nema board of directors chairman John Konchellah on Thursday said the authority is in the process of drafting a gazette notice that will see the ban effected by April 30.

“The board has been engaging stakeholders in the manufacturing industry who have promised to start up recycling companies to deal with the waste. But if they will not have taken the adequate measures as discussed with Nema, the ban will be effected,” he said.

Mr Konchellah said the meetings with stakeholders have been ongoing for the last two months.

“Plastic bottles have been forming a huge percentage of solid waste scattered in the environment,” he said.

Data from the Ministry of Environment shows that approximately 50 million bottles are used annually countrywide. The bottles are  disposed off into the environment, forming a bulk of waste. The ban on plastic bottles will be the next big move that the government will be taking towards attaining a pollution-free environment after the plastic bags ban.

Nema further announced that it will close markets where traders are flouting the plastic bags ban that was effected in February last year.

Nema director Geoffrey Wahungu said although the ban was successfully implemented, there are cartels working along borders. The authority had earlier complained that the ban was facing a challenge of plastics bags from Uganda.

SMUGGLE PLASTIC BAGS

Prof Wahungu also warned chairpersons of markets who are assisting  traders to smuggle plastic bags from other countries, and resisting arrest.

He named City Park, Gikomba, Lower Kabete and Mlolongo  as some of the  markets resisting the ban. Other areas are Western Kenya and parts of Lunga Lunga.

Prof Wahungu further said unlike before when Nema was not working with police officers and county enforcement authorities to arrest those found using plastic bags, the arrests will be effected. “From now onwards, police and county enforcement officers are allowed to stop vehicles, inspect and arrest anyone found using plastic bags,” he said.

As part of the government’s commitment, it has been working with the Kenya Airports Authority to confiscate plastic bags from travellers entering the country.