Nairobi News


Plastic bags ban: Hawkers make a killing selling reusable bags in CBD

The ban on plastic bags takes effect from Monday even as governors supported the directive, saying it will yield a clean environment.

The Council of Governors chairman Josphat Nanok in a statement to newsrooms said the county bosses will work with the Ministry of Environment to enforce the ban in devolved units.

“The council supports the ban and will work with the national government and other stakeholders to ensure that the ban comes into effect,” said Mr Nanok.

Hawkers in the city were all smiles on Sunday as they made a killing from selling reusable bags. The bags are ranging from Sh100 to Sh300.


“The bags are quite expensive compared to the plastic paper bags, which have been costing from as low as Sh5 and Sh10,” said Ms Jane Wairimu, a hawker.

At the same time, some supermarkets have supported the ban. Among the supermarkets that are up in the game to meet the new directive by the Ministry of Environment are Nakumatt and Uchumi.

Nakumatt Supermarket has been running an initiative that seeks to reduce the consumption and dispensing of plastic bags across the Nakumatt network by encouraging the voluntary use of reusable bags, used cartons and bales to package shopping items.

By Sunday, many Kenyans were still using the paper bags to carry goods.

A spot check by Nation established that major supermarkets such as Tuskys, Naivas, Eastmatt, Best Lady shops and retail shops in Nairobi were still packaging shopping for their customers in plastic bags.

Environment Cabinet Secretary Judi Wakhungu announced the ban on the use, manufacturing and importation of plastic bags on February 28 this year.


Most of the citizens who were interviewed blamed the government for failing to engage the public on civic education and failing to provide the alternative biodegradable bags soon after the ban was gazzeted.

Ms Trizah Gatweri said the ban will affect everyone as the alternative bags the government is suggesting are not being sold in the market in large quantities.

“From today and tomorrow, our children will be going to school. How will they carry their shopping? The bags being sold in the market are too expensive,” she said.

Ms Sheela Keavile said the government should have started phasing out plastic bags slowly since last year.

“What will happen to the plastic paper bags we already have in our houses?” She paused.

Mr Josphat Mutiso, a trader along Moi Avenue, said he will suffer loses since he has a stock of plastic bags that he is yet to clear.