Manufactures of non-woven bags are a happy lot after the High Court suspended the directive by the National Environment and Management Authority (NEMA) stopping the use of polypropylene bags pending the hearing and determination of a petition they filed.
Judge James Makau issued the orders on Thursday after Traders Association of Kenya (ISTA) moved to court contesting that NEMA wants to stop their operations.
“Orders do issue suspending the directive by NEMA stopping the use, manufacture, importation and supply of non-woven polypropylene bags effective from March 31, 2019 pending the hearing and determination of the application before me,” ruled Makau.
Makau has also retrained NEMA from instigating enforcement action as against ISTA which include harassing, intimidating, arresting or causing closure of the ISTA businesses effective FROM March 31, 2019 pending the hearing and determination of this application.
Okach said that ISTA employees are entitled to the protection of the law under the constitution and have a right to institute these proceedings to prevent continued breach of the same by NEMA.
“NEMA through Cabinet Secretary issued Gazette Notices number 2334 and 2356 which banned the use, manufacture importation and distribution of plastic bags for commercial household packaging which ban took effect on August 28, 2017,”said Dancun Okatch in their application.
They said that in the said legal notices, the non-woven polypropylene bags were exempted from the ban and their use authorised as an alternative to the environmental unfriendly plastic bags.
“In the said legal notices, the non-woven polypropylene bags were exempted from the ban and their use authorized as an alternative to the environmental unfriendly plastic bags,” said Okatch.
They told the court that relying on the directive by NEMA, they invested heavily in capital, in terms of machinery, raw material and Labor, in furtherance of their trade and most importantly to comply with the regulations set forth and run their business without interference or breaching provisions of the law.
They added that on March 19, 2019, NEMA publicised a directive demanding them to stop the use, manufacture, importation and supply of the said non-woven polypropylene bags effective from March 31, 2019.
“The said decision was made unilaterally and without any consultations with the stakeholders and public,” said Okatch