Carrying a plastic bag with the writing “Hakuna matata Kenya” (No problem in Kenya), I was worried that there could be matata in Town, after hearing rumors that City council askaris are arresting people carrying plastic bags that are lower than 30 microns. Though I knew this very well, I went on and carried my plastic bag because I knew it was thicker and probably could be 40 microns or more. I was wondering how would a City council askari know that this one is more than 30 microns without a micrometer screw. I have some little knowledge on plastic and but how would I convince them without this devise for measuring film thickness.
I relaxed later when Caro of Kiss Fm radio, said she had invited a guest to clarify on this by-law amongst others that have been enforced lately. The guest was the Nairobi Mayor Dick Wathika (I don’t want to use the title His Worship the Mayor, I feel such colonial titles should be done away with). The Mayor confirmed that no one would be arrested for now, because most people are ignorant about this micron issue. It is the duty of manufacturers to stop manufacturing flimsy plastic bags and manufacture thicker ones, which can be used for long and are environmental friendly. He advised that it would be better for people to avoid paper bags all together and said that after sometime City council askaris will be given authority to arrest people carrying flimsy plastic bags. Caro also advised ladies to start using their kiondos (bags made of sisal) and Members of Parliament to encourage their constituents to start kiondo making projects. This is interesting I should also get a bigger kiondo for shopping.
It is sad that thousands of Kenyans have lost their jobs, even more are going to loose their jobs. Their families will suffer because of this ban. I also don’t agree with the way the government implements things in a hurry when it is about elections. We must agree that this move to ban thinner plastic bags is a noble one, for environmental reasons and I look forward to a cleaner environment. The companies manufacturing plastic bags should start making other type of bags to re-employ these people. They should have acted when there were calls to the government by organizations and people like Professor Wangari Mathai to ban Plastic bags for environmental reasons.