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20 grocers in Narok court for using plastic bags

Plastic bags
Some 20 grocers arrested over the weekend appeared in a Narok court on Monday after they were found using plastic bags to package fruits and vegetables. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Some 20 grocers arrested over the weekend appeared in a Narok court on Monday after they were found using plastic bags to package fruits and vegetables.

If found guilty, they could be fined between Sh2 million and Sh4 million, get a jail term of between one and two years, or both.

The grocers denied contravening regulations banning the use of polythene bags and were each released by Chief Magistrate Wilbroda Juma on a bond of Sh100,000 and one surety of the same amount or a cash bail of Sh100,000.

The court heard that the 20 were on January 26 and 28 found with plastic flat bags and carrier bags, which are banned under Gazette Notice number 2334 and 2356.

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Separate arrests

The 20 were arrested separately at Eor-Ekule market near Narok town on Narok-Maai Mahiu Road and Nyawera Street in Narok town packaging the vegetables and selling them to customers.

The case will be mentioned on February 14 and will be heard on 23 the same month.

Many of the victims are hawkers and depend on small businesses for their livelihoods.

The National Environment Management Authority (Nema) regional coordinator Patrick Lekenit said the people were apprehended during crackdowns by his office with police officers.

Mostly women

Mr Lekenit said majority of those arrested are women who sell groceries to motorists along the busy highway.

He said those defying the ban are doing so at their own risk as Nema carried out sensitisation work and and it was now time to implement the ban to the letter.

"Many traders are now compliant and support the ban because they know the effects of plastics on the environment, drainage systems in particular." he added.

Former Environment secretary Judi Wakhungu banned the use of plastics through a Kenya Gazette notice on February 27 last year,

This gave manufacturers six months — until August 28, 2017 — to have cleared their stock when the ban took effect.

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