Kenya bans plastic bags


Can you imagine your life without plastic? The sad truth is that we are constantly using some form of plastic; e.g. plastic bags, toothbrushes, combs, snack boxes. There are different types of plastics and not all plastics are recyclable. Most plastics do not decompose and this is what makes plastic such a threat to our environment.

Since the 1950s we have produced billions of tons and this plastic will remain forever causing serious threats to our environment. Plastic that is thrown into our oceans endangers marine life as it is accidently swallowed by seabirds, dolphins and other fish who end up dying of starvation because their stomachs are full of plastic. At the rate at which we are going, by the year 2050 there may be more plastic in our oceans than fish!

Recently, people found plastic floating in the North Pole. Scientists, spotted huge chunks floating on the sea ice in the centre of the Arctic ocean. They didn’t imagine they would find plastic floating in such remote and pristine waters. They fear melting ice could be allowing pollution to enter the Arctic waters.

Some cows in Kenya had to have 20 bags removed from their stomachs. Photo Credit: Reuters: Thomas Mukoya

Plastic also affects global warming and climate change. Plastics are generally made from petroleum and if we burn plastic it increases carbon emissions in the air. If plastic is dumped in a landfill it will result in a carbon sink. In a nut shell – the best way to save the world from plastic is to cut down on its use.

In India, most shops use either paper bags or you make customers pay for plastic bags in an effort to make it difficult for people to use plastic.

Many countries impose fines and heavy taxes on the use of plastic so as to stop people from using plastic.

Recently, in a path breaking step to save the environment, Kenya has banned the production, selling and even use of plastic bags. Anyone who does not follow the ban can be punished with imprisonment for up to four years or a fine of $40,000.

Although Kenya is not the first country in the world to ban plastic, it has the world’s toughest law against the use of plastic.

Photo Credit: Reuters

Written by: Jahnavi Kohli, a lawyer, writer, and mom!

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