Lamu county commissioners orders police not to arrest anyone over plastic ban

Traders holding Polythene paper bags. PHOTO: COURTESY.

Lamu, KENYA: Police in Lamu county have been asked not arrest anyone in line with the ongoing nationwide plastic ban.

Lamu county commissioner Gilbert Kitiyo has asked police not harass anyone who will be found not adhering to the ban and instead seek to have the ban embraced through other practicable and friendly means.

Speaking in his office on Friday,Kitiyo said his office will focus more on demonstrating and teaching the locals the negativity of using plastic bags in order to enable for a more amicable approach to the acceptance and adherence to the ban instead of reproach and arrests.

The ban came into being on August 28 after it was imposed by NEMA as a means of ensuring safer and cleaner environments.

Kitiyo said his office was liaising with the NEMA office in the county in order to come up with more friendlier approaches to enforce the ban.

He said no one will and should be arrested in connection with the ban,atleast not soon.

He asked residents and visitors coming into the county to take a personal initiative of adhering to the ban instead of being followed around by police in order to do so.

“The plastic ban in on but here in Lamu and we are keen to ensure its adhered to the latter.My office shall however follow a different approach from what I have seen other counties doing by arresting and charging who don’t comply.No one will be arrested over the ban.We are adapting friendlier and amicable means to enable people understand at a personal level why plastic bags are harmful and why they shouldn’t be used.No police officer will arrest anyone over that.we want people to learn respect for the law without police arrests,”said Kitiyo.

Kitiyo said he will meet all chiefs next week in order to chart a way forward on the best ways to enforce the ban in a friendlier approach and environment.

“I will train the chiefs on how they will enforce the same at the grassroots.They will hold numerous barazas to create awareness of the dangers of plastics.I believe its easier that way than arresting and charging since I believe such a trend will never end as people might resist,”said Kitiyo.

This comes at a time when residents in various counties have complained of police harassment and increased extortion from police officers and county enforcement officers since the ban started.