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Why you still see plastics littering streets despite ban

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The ban on plastic bags by the Government in August has driven their manufacture and sale underground as black market racketeers find avenues to rake in huge profits. Investigations by The Standard have revealed that some traders are flirting with jail terms and heavy fines by secretly stocking and selling plastic bags…

The traders risk four years in jail or Sh4 million in fines should they be arrested and convicted. Our investigations revealed that the bags are still being sold, sometimes in plain sight

Although small-scale traders are the worst hit by the ban on plastic bags, they are also the most daring when it comes to defying the ban. A number of them have found ways of stocking the bags by all means and devised methods of camouflaging their illegal activities, only sell the bags to select and trusted clients, mostly male. “I encourage my customers to come with their own bags, which most women do. But men generally do not carry bags.

So I charge them Sh5 for every bag,” said Cecilia, who sells vegetables in Eastleigh. She admitted that she always has plastic bags stuffed in her handbag. Initially, traders did not charge their customers for plastic bags. But as Cecilia’s colleague, Alphonse Odiwuor explains, the ban pushed up the prices of the bags, now sold on the black market. And it is customers who bear the cost. “The pack that held 200 carrier bags used to be sold for Sh50 at most. But now it is retailing at Sh130, and you cannot get it just anywhere. You need to know people who know people,” said Mr Odiwuor.

By Graham Kajilwa
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