African countries with the most effective laws against plastic bags

2 minutes

Photo: Velkro

1- Kenya

In Kenya, citizens potentially face up to 4 years in prison and a 38,000$ fine for using plastic bags. The law came to effectiveness on August 28, 2017. The country has the harshest law on plastic bags in the world: full ban on producing, selling or using plastic bags. Though a major exporter of plastic bags in Africa, the country chose environment over money. According to Reuters, Kenya’s law allows police to go after anyone even carrying a plastic bag. However, enforcement will initially be directed at manufacturers and suppliers.


2-  Rwanda

Non biodegradable plastic bags are illegal in Rwanda. In 2008, the country decided to ban completely plastic bags while the rest of the world was not even considering it. Walking in the street with a plastic bag can result into a 150$ fine and store owners stocking them can spend 6 to 12 months in prison. They are even confiscated at the airport upon arrival, and throughout the country businesses switched from plastic bags to paper bags. Rwanda seems to be taking up to its constitution stating that “every citizen is entitled to a healthy and satisfying environment”. Companies that used to manufacture plastic bags are encouraged to recycle them instead for tax incentives. This move is part of Rwanda’s 2020 vision and strategy which states that 100% of the Rwandan population will be in a good hygienic condition by 2020.


3- Morocco

Up until 2016, Morocco was the second largest plastic bag consumer after the USA. It used about 3 billion plastic bags a year, meaning 1 of the 34 million inhabitants used about 900 bags a year. It all started in 2009 with banning black plastic bags which used to litter the country’s streets and beaches. In 2016, a ban on production and use of plastic bags came into effect across Morocco: production, import, sale and distribution of plastic bags are banned. The country ranks alongside Costa Rica, Bhutan and Ethiopia as one of the world’s greenest countries. With the legislation dubbed “zero mika”, or zero plastic in Arabic, Morocco became one of the first countries in Africa to impose a total ban on plastic bag. According to Ansamed, after 6 months of effectiveness, nearly 7,000 tons of plastic bags have ended up incinerated, 19 tons have been stopped at the border and 135 tons of non conforming plastic bags have been sized.

What about your country? Are plastic bags banned there? Do you think they should be banned? Share your opinion on the matter in the comment box!
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    Elle Citoyenne

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    Elle Citoyenne is a bilingual (Fre-Eng) citizen media aiming at educating people on all things pertaining to citizen participation, giving the floor to citizens for them to voice out thoughts and propose solutions to problems experienced by their communities, and promoting citizens' actions for the welfare of their communities.

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