Kenya has announced a complete ban of single-use plastics, such as water bottles and straws, in protected areas such as national parks, beaches and forests. The country’s Minister of Tourism said in a statement, “This ban is again a first to address the catastrophic plastic pollution affecting Kenya and the world, and we hope it will catalyze similar policies and measures within the East African community”.
Three years ago, Kenya initiated a complete ban on the manufacture, import and sale of plastic bags, with hefty fines and prison sentences in the event of a violation.
The ban three years ago brought about significant change. The WWF praised the act, saying that “Previously, driving from Nairobi to a place like the Masai Mara you would see plastic bags hanging from trees like flowers after being blown away and getting stuck. We don’t see them any more.”
Furthermore, whilst plastic producing companies suffered for a while, many of them went on to diversify their products to include fabric-based bags, non-woven bags and pulp paper-based bags. There remain, however, allegations of plastic bag smuggling from nearby Uganda and Somalia.
Regardless, however, many have acclaimed the ban three years ago and the ban on single-use plastics recently announced by Kenya and are hopeful it will curb the effects of global climate change.