NAIROBI, Kenya, August 28 – Starting today, Kenya will embark on a plastic bag-free journey following the total ban on all plastic bags by the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources in collaboration with the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA).
But it is not the only country to do so.
Kenya will join around 30 countries that have either passed the law and implemented it or passed the law with the intention of implementing it.
In Africa, Botswana introduced a tax on plastic bags ten years ago, while in 2014 Cameroon banned disposable plastic bags.
Eritrea banned plastic bags in 2005, while Mauritania banned the use, manufacture and import of plastic bags from 2013.
In 2016, Morocco, Africa’s second-largest consumer of plastic bags, amended a law banning the use of plastic bags.
Rwanda completely banned plastic bags in 2008 as part of its Vision 2020 plan for sustainability. Tanzania, on the other hand, introduced a national ban on plastic bags in 2006 while in March this year; Tunisia has introduced a ban on the distribution of plastic bags in supermarkets.
In South Africa, the bag tax was introduced in 2004 although it has never been banned.
In 2007, Uganda introduced a ban on lightweight plastic bags which went into effect that year. However, the ban was never enforced.
A number of Asian countries have either imposed a total ban or imposed taxes on plastic bags. These include Bangladesh imposed a strict ban, China also imposed a ban although with limited success while Hong Kong introduced a tax on bags.
India called for a ban even if enforcement remains a problem. Others in Asia have banned or imposed a tax, with success or not, including Indonesia, Israel, Malaysia, Myanmar and Taiwan.
In Europe, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Romania, Switzerland and the United Kingdom – Wales, Northern Ireland, Scotland and England have tried to tackle plastic bags in one way or another.
The United States does not have a national charge or ban for plastic bags, but states like California and territories like American Samoa and Puerto Rico have banned disposable bags.
“Kenya is taking decisive action to remove an ugly stain on its outstanding natural beauty,” said Erik Solheim, head of UN Environment. “Plastic waste is also causing immeasurable damage to fragile ecosystems – both on land and at sea – and this decision is a major step forward in our global effort to reverse the trend in plastic. ”