A month after the plastic bags' ban took effect in Kenya; shoppers have continued to show unhappiness on how their goods should be packed. Most supermarkets have not adopted alternative means of packaging goods and have instead shifted the burden to consumers.
In a visit to some supermarkets in Eldoret City, KNDF Secretary General, Laban Korelach observed that the few supermarkets that have come up with the alternative packaging, have made them very expensive. Shoppers who purchase more items are often forced to buy other several smaller bags which become a huge load and expensive. Some supermarkets are even harassing the shoppers who do not have their own packaging bags to carry their goods on hand and pack them from outside.
Mr. Laban Korelach urges Consumer Federation of Kenya (COFEK) to address the concern. It is also interesting to note that with affordable non-polythene materials around, no investors have launched in the manufacturing of the packaging material to supply the supermarkets.
Just as the supermarkets have been using the polythene bags to package goods, a similar alternative should be established to save the Kenyan consumer. “In future we might even require some bi-laws that will make it mandatory for the sellers to have alternative packaging materials for their customers especially supermarkets”, observed Mr Laban Korelach, KNDF Secretary General.
In the mean time, the Kenyan government has rejected 691 applications for plastic packaging production with a stern warning issued to small traders saying that the use of flat bags will not be tolerated. National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) Director General Professor Geoffrey Wahungu said that the applications were rejected for failing to make full disclosure about their operations, not providing proof of lack of alternatives and due to excessive or unnecessary packaging which is costly tobuyers.