Social media users in Kenya have come out in support of three vendors who were arrested for using plastic bags.
The men were selling plums, passion fruit and sugar cane in the capital Nairobi when they were detained and were due to appear in court on Tuesday, authorities said.
Kenya's plastic bag ban came into effect in 2017 and has some of the harshest penalties in the world.
Offenders face prison sentences or fines of up to $40,000 (£32,000).
More than a third of Kenyans survive on less than $1.90 (£1.46) per day, according to World Bank figures for 2015-16,
In a message posted on Twitter, the country's National Environment Management Authority (Nema) said the men were found with around 500 plastic bags in their possession on Monday.
3 traders were arrested in Nairobi yesterday using banned plastic bags. About 500 pieces of the bags were seized. The trio are being presented in court today. According to Section 144 of EMCA, any person using banned bags is liable to 2-4 million fine or imprisonment of 1-4 years pic.twitter.com/kXUTS571FL— NEMA Kenya (@NemaKenya) February 18, 2020
However, a number of Twitter users strongly criticised the decision to target small traders.
Poor traders will be jailed for upto 4 years for using plastic bags or pay millions in fine. Unfortunately @NemaKenya will never arrest the rich people who dump industrial waste on our rivers or the ones who run noisy clubs in residential areas.— Boniface Mwangi (@bonifacemwangi) February 18, 2020
It's a crime to be poor in Kenya. https://t.co/ZZ790PPyhS
Many pointed out that other forms of plastic continue to be used in the country.
Did you know that sausages from farmers choice, pampers, know that Ketepa Tea bags box, beans and other cereals in supermarkets available for middle class are all wrapped in one time use polythene bags? This is a "social class war"— Andrew (@AnotherKenya) February 18, 2020
According to the UN, around 100 million plastic bags were given out by Kenyan supermarkets every year before strict laws came into effect in August 2017.
The government argued that the bags were polluting the environment, while a study by the environmental authority Nema had found that more than half of cattle near urban areas were found to have plastic bags in their stomachs.
Kenya's ban followed moves to outlaw plastic bags in other African countries including Rwanda and Morocco, with Tanzania following suit in 2019.