A ban on plastic carrier bags came into force recently in Kenya, which means that anyone found selling, manufacturing or carrying them could face draconian fines of up to $38,000 or prison sentences of up to four years.
Several other African countries have successfully outlawed plastic carrier bags, including Rwanda, Mauritania, Eritrea. This is the third attempt in the past 10 years to ban plastic bags in Kenya. Botswana introduced a ban way back in 2006 but it has yet to be imposed with sanctions. Last month Zambia joined in with the ban and a two week transition period has just come to an end. Zanzibar is also currently looking at banning plastic bags.
Kenya's ban is seen as one of the harshest in the world, although officials say that for now, ordinary shoppers will be warned and have their bags confiscated rather than being fined.The government says the ban will help protect the environment as Kenyans are estimated to use 24 million bags a month. Piles of waste plastic bags are a common site across Kenya, as in many African countries.Back to News