Most Kenyans and retailers have improvised various ways of coping with the ban on plastic bags, which took effect today.

A survey conducted by Business Today, however, shows that some people are still carrying and using the banned plastic bags, with most retailers left stranded on what to use to package the goods they sell.

Hawkers who sell boiled eggs, boiled maize, mandazis and other foods hawked on the streets are facing hard time since they cannot wrap the eatables using old newspapers due to health concerns.

One plastic bags manufacturer in Nairobi’s industrial area has closed down, culminating in job losses. In a notice, the company asked former workers to leave their contacts with the security guard and they will be contacted with further updates. Manufacturers had warned of an imminent loss of 20,000 direct and 400,000 indirect jobs.

A spot check by Business Today shows that Nakumatt Moi Avenue Supermarket does not have any alternative methods for their customers to carry goods they carry their outlet with their previously introduced carrier bags out of stock.

At Tuskys Pioneer, the retailer was offering their customers carton boxes to carry their goods, as well as eco-friendly bags at a price of Ksh5 and Ksh10, according to a text message they had sent earlier to their customers, and confirmed by this publisher.

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“Tuskys Supports Plastic Ban. We shall provide customers with Eco-Reusable bags. Price 5/= for small bags and 10/= for large bags. We also encourage you to carry Kiondos, Baskets and any other Eco-reusable bags. In addition, we shall provide packing cartons on request. Feel free to return with the Eco-reusable bags during your next shopping,” read a text message sent by Tuskys to its customers.

In a bid to avoid colliding with the long arm of law, Kenyans are seen to be complying with the law, opting for eco-friendly carriers. Kiondos, a traditional bag made from sisal/baobab threads with cotton threads mostly carried by women are making a comeback into the business streets. They were previously abandoned and seen as being too traditional to traverse the city streets.

This man decided to carry his goods in a cartoon to stay on the safe side of the law. Photo / Francis Muli

Cartons, which have been left ‘for any other use’ after the initial purpose is served are now making it to be one of the best alternative for plastic bags.

Other alternatives are cotton bags sewn to serve the purpose, with some sewn locally from ‘useless’ clothes while others have been made by erupting manufacturers ready to take up the opportunity created by plastic ban.

Some companies have also decided to comply with the recent law by denying access to their premises to staff members who carry plastic bags with them, mostly in major towns.

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The rule of law seems to be taking its course as it is also reported that the police and NEMA officials are already combing major cities in a bid to fully implement the ban that was introduced early this year.

Violators of the ban risk a four-year term in jail or  a Ksh2-4 million shillings or both.

There have been unconfirmed reports of police stopping vehicles to scrutinise passengers and those found with the plastic bags being prosecuted on the spot.

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