Kenya’s experiment in banning plastic bags

When Kenya decided to introduce severe penalties for the manufacturing, distribution, sale and use of plastic (polythene) carrier bags two years ago, it seemed like a pragmatic response to a critical issue. However, as this article shows, not only are the sanctions disproportionate (in my view), but efforts to work around the ban by introducing ‘greener’ alternatives have had negative as well as positive consequences: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-49421885. Clearly, well-intentioned legislation to address environmental issues will be caught on the back foot if it fails to take into consideration the circumstances specific to any particular setting.

Confusion over plastic bag levy in Namibia

The national levy on non-biodegradable single-use plastic bags previously given away gratis at Namibian retailers was due to be gazetted on August 1st this year (of course, the actual cost of providing these ‘free’ bags has formerly been absorbed into the price of products for sale). Subsequent searches online failed to produce any information regarding progress of this important legislation, which will affect pretty much every adult in the country, week in, week out: https://www.lelamobile.com/content/81105/Government-distances-itself-from-retailers-plastic-levy/

Whilst it’s commendable that our legislators are getting up to speed with the need to incorporate environmental issues into policies and laws more fully, and levies imposed in other countries have had significant positive results in this regard (https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jul/31/shoppers-use-of-plastic-bags-in-england-continues-to-fall), nevertheless we should all be aiming to reduce and eventually eliminate our use of such plastics in our lives.

Ask for a cardboard box to hold your items; use fabric bags such as those made by the ‘Sew Good’ project; ask for price stickers to be put directly onto single loose fresh produce (such as butternuts).