Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Nyei County NEMA Director Nancy Mui holding up Githeri packed in a banned plastic paper bag at Mweiga Trading Centre in Kieni Constituency.

Over 15 individuals have been arrested in Nyeri by the National Environment Management Authority (NEMA), for flouting various environmental regulations including use of banned plastic bags and inappropriate effluent discharge. The offenders including small scale traders, industries and hotel owners were arrested following a crackdown mounted by the authority within the county in the last one week, marking the commencement of a 100-day Rapid Results Initiative (RRI).

In some instances, dramatic scenes were witnessed as some culprits tried to resist arrest, especially in open air markets where traders are still using nylon papers, accusing the authority of unfairly targeting them instead of going for the producers. NEMA County Director, Nancy Mui, said the campaign was aimed at ensuring that use of plastic carrier bags that was slowly creeping back was completely wiped out as well as ensure compliance to proper waste disposal by facilities such as hotels, petrol stations, industries and residential plots.

She said banned plastic bags were slowly making their way into the market and polluting the environment despite the ban, calling for appropriate measures to be taken to ensure the regulation was followed to the letter. “We have noted that the banned plastic bags are slowly re-merging with some suppliers still stocking and releasing the same into the market,” said Ms. Mui as she announced a one week amnesty for the culprits to declare and surrender them.

“If you fail to declare or surrender the plastic bags within one week, we will definitely arrest and prosecute you,” warned the Director, saying no one would be spared from suppliers to the end users. As per the plastic ban regulation that came into effect on August 28, 2017, anyone found producing, selling or using plastic bags is liable to a fine up to Sh. 4 million or a jail term of four years. She continued that the hunt down is also targeting facilities discharging effluent into the environment with no connection to the sewer system, cesspool or having no efficient treatment system.

“We are arresting those who have not complied with effluent discharge as well as checking on those who have complied to ensure the set conditions are met,” said Ms. Mui.

She said those facilities lacking effluent discharge licenses risk prosecution and closure of their businesses. The authority is also targeting houses built on wetlands as owners are asked to produce land ownership documents to certify their authenticity.

NEMA officer marking a house for demolition built on a wetland at Ngangarithi Estate in Nyeri Town.

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