The wrath of plastic has engulfed some of the very vital natural components and the synthetic heap keeps growing with alarming rates at global levels. To stop the pollution caused by plastic, Kenya has implemented world’s toughest law for plastic usage – a war against plastic monster.
Plastic – what is the first thought that comes to your mind when you read this word? Artificial? Synthetic? To me it is almost a synonym to ‘pollution’. It is useful, it is versatile, it is lightweight, it is strong – but with the amount we are producing plastic, it is killing our environment, so the hell with its benefits! Being absolutely NOT biodegradable, once produced, there is no ‘eco-friendly’ way to dispose plastic, so we must either learn to use it wisely or learn to live without it. The most plastic waste is caused by the most widely used plastic product – plastic bags. We all use it, we all throw it and dump them right away.
All that non-biodegradable plastic waste then drifts into oceans – killing aquatic life, strangling turtles, suffocating seabirds and filling the stomachs of dolphins and whales with plastic until they die of starvation and suffocation. See how brutal that last plastic bag you ditched in the dustbin is? And if we keep moving at this rate, by 2050, we will have more plastic waste in ocean than the number of fishes – not even mentioning those plastic heaps on land. And plastic waste takes about 500 to 1000 years to break down, but by then it will enter even our food chain system – imagine plastic-ish tomato salads or apples? Bon appetite?
Dreaded by this picture, more than 40 other countries that have banned, partly banned or taxed single use plastic bags, including China, France, Rwanda, and Italy. Joining the club is the latest member from Africa – Kenya, but the country has taken the ban to a whole new level with the toughest ever anti-plastic bags law in the whole world. As per the new law, anyone in Kenya who will produce, sell or even use plastic bags will risk an imprisonment of up to 4 years or a fine of $40,000 (Rs 25,60,000) from today.
Being the toughest law passed to target reduction of plastic pollution, the Kenyan law even allows policemen to go after anyone even carrying a plastic bag. So if you are a foreigner or a tourist visiting Kenya and there is no plastic law in your home country, well dump every bit of plastic bag you have before you catch the flight to Kenya. As per Judy Wakhungu, Kenya’s environment minister, the law will not harm or harass ordinary men but it will directly affect manufacturers and suppliers. I think it is an amazing step and should be implemented by not just Kenya but all countries of the world – lets save the world, lets ditch those plastic bags right away; and way to go Kenya!