Kenyan authorities say that travelers coming into the country carrying duty free plastic shop bags will be ordered to leave them at the airport, the National Environmental and Management Authority(NEMA) said in a statement.
The new order comes after the a High Court on Friday ruled that banned use of plastic bags in the country take effect in Monday, August 28th, 2017.
“Since duty free shops at airports are considered to be outside the Kenyan territory, bags used at this point are not affected by the ban. However, any traveller coming into Kenya with duty free bags shall be required to leave the same at the entry points,” the authority’s director general Geoffrey Wahungu said in a notice to all manufactures, importers and users of plastic bags.
Plastic carrier bags, flat bags, and garbage/ chemical waste liners are other plastic bags not affected by the ban.
Friday's court ruling makes Kenya the latest Africa country to effect a ban on plastic bags after Mauritania, which imposed the ban in 2013.
Rwanda, Cameroon, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia and Malawi are other African countries whi have adopted the ban or announced plans to adopt it.
This is the third time that the government is issuing a ban on plastic bag, after similar attempts in 2007 and 2011 failed.
Despite the ruling, the Kenya Association of Manufacturers argues that the ban still affects manufacturers who produce for commercial and household packaging.
“We would like to clarify that, as the association of manufacturers, we have never been against the intent of the ban, which is to clean up our country, towards improving the quality of life for all citizens. We have only differed on the manner of its execution, which did not take into account adequate stakeholder consultation,” the manufacturer’s lobby chief executive Phyllis Wakiaga said in response to the court’s decision.
The lobby raised concern that despite an exemption on garbage bags, Kenyans are expected to empty their garbage and re-use the same bags over and over again, posing a health and sanitation risk.