Kenya To Ban Plastic Bags – For The Good Of The Environment

Since their invention in 1960, plastic bags have become a staple of everyday life. If you grew up in a Nigerian home, then you're used to seeing your mother hoard plastic bags filled with even more plastic bags – for no reason whatsoever.

The sad part about all this is that the negative effects they have on our health and our environment far outweigh their temporary convenience.

Plastic bags are not easily decomposed and contribute towards the degradation of the environment. A plastic bag can take from 15 to 1,000 years to break down – which explains why most of them find their way to landfill sites and end up causing pollution.

The dump in the Dandora slum of Nairobi, Kenya (Photo: AP)

A dump in the Dandora slum of Nairobi, Kenya (Photo: AP)

Kenya makes their third attempt at banning plastic bags

Kenya has tried to ban polythene bags twice before, in 2007 and 2011, without much success – but it seems like the third time might be the charm.

A few weeks ago, environment minister Judi W. Wakhungu gave the order to ban the manufacturing and importation of all plastic bags used for commercial and household packaging – a measure that will take effect six months from now.

In a recent statement, the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) reported that about 100 million plastic bags are handed out every year in Kenya by supermarkets alone – calling this the top challenge for urban waste disposal in Kenya.

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Residents burning plastics in Viwandani slum, Nairobi (Photo: Washplus)

More plastic in our oceans than fish – by 2050

Plastic bags contribute to the 8 million tons of plastic that leak into the ocean every year and according to UNEP, if it continues at this rate, there will be more plastic in the oceans than fish by 2050.

At this moment, Cameroon, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia, Mauritania and Malawi are among the other African countries that have adopted or announced such bans – and we are now waiting for Nigeria to get on it too...

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There are at least 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic in the ocean (Photo: City Lab)

Read More -> Meet Misimi Isimi, The 9-Year-Old Environmentalist And Gender Equality Advocate

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