Kenyan traders head to court to fight plastic ban


Importers and retailers of plastic bags in Kenya have moved to court, hoping to suspend a government ban on the use, manufacture and importation of polythene.

In a suit filed on their behalf, the traders have sued the Environment Cabinet Secretary Judy Wakhungu and the Attorney-General Githu Muigai, claiming the ban, which was issued through a legal notice early this year, did not comply with the law.

Additional points of contention included the great economic losses to businesses, since the regulation was put into effect without adequate consultation with stakeholders.

Through lawyer Antonny Ogesa, they argue that the six-month period given to importers, retailers and dealers of plastic bags is not sufficient for them to clear all their stock and fulfill their contractual obligations.

They want the court to temporarily suspend that regulation banning the use, manufacture and importation of all plastic bags used for commercial and household packaging.

CS Judy Wakhungu, in a Kenya Gazette notice dated February 28, banned two categories of plastic bags — carrier bags and flat bags.

Previous efforts to abolish the use of plastic bags have failed, and it remains to be seen if the latest ban will bear fruit.