The government of Kenya has recently adopted a law which prohibits the production, the import and also the use of plastic bags throughout the country. The decision, which comes into effect officially in six months, was announced immediately after the launch of the campaign 'Clean Seas Initiative' with which the UN declared war on plastic, getting support from ten governments in tackling marine pollution caused by petroleum-based materials.
Kenya uses 24 million plastic bags every month which, if released into the environment, causing serious ecological and health problems as this video shows. The plastic bags, indeed, threaten to kill fish, birds and other animals who mistake plastic for food, pollute agricultural land, disfigure the beaches and other tourist sites and provide fertile ground for the proliferation of malaria-carrying mosquitoes. Kenya isn't the first African country to ban plastic bags. Cameroon, Uganda, Tanzania and Ethiopia have already taken initiatives in this regard and other countries have announced plans to take action in support of the United Nations' environmental campaign. Plastic bags represent the major challenge as regards the disposal of municipal waste in Kenya, especially in poorer communities where the access to disposal systems is limited and the health care is reduced.
The plastic bags are part of the 8 million tons of plastic that end up into the oceans every year. At this rate, according to the data provided by the United Nations, in 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the seas, with serious consequences for fisheries, wildlife and tourism. Banning the use of plastic bags is the first important step on the road to change.