In Summary
  • Should the ban be executed as planned, Kenya will soon be like Rwanda, a country that banned plastic bags nine years ago.
  • Kenyans who have been to Rwanda paint a rosy picture of how impeccable the tiny country’s streets look, and those who spoke to nation.co.ke said banning plastic bags in Kenya will be a welcome relief.

That the recent ban of plastic bags is a subtle re-election campaign promise by the Jubilee administration cannot be ruled out, given that the implementation date is after the August 8 General Election.

Nevertheless, there is a lot to be optimistic about after the March 14 gazetting of the ban by Environment Cabinet Secretary Judi Wakhungu, where she specified which type of bags will not be allowed. Many hope that this time round, the ban will have an impact unlike the three previous attempts.

Should the ban be executed as planned, Kenya will soon be like Rwanda, a country that banned plastic bags nine years ago.

Kenyans who have been to Rwanda paint a rosy picture of how impeccable the tiny country’s streets look, and those who spoke to nation.co.ke said banning plastic bags in Kenya will be a welcome relief.

“The streets are so clean that when you come back here, you will shed tears because of the garbage in the streets,” said Ms Susan Muumbi, who visited Rwanda in 2013 and 2016.

“Even at the Rwanda outlets of Nakumatt supermarket, where I have done my shopping, they pack your goods in paper bags. I wonder why Nakumatt can’t introduce those in Kenya. They are quite clumsy to carry but it’s worth the hassle,” Ms Muumbi added.

SURREAL LEVELS OF CLEANILINESS

Ms Anita Chepkoechwas in Kigali in July 2016 and she describes the cleanliness levels in the streets as surreal.

“Rwandan officials check you at the border to make sure you don’t go in with any polythene wrappers,” she said. “Rwandans often carry their own bags, mostly khaki and sisal bags, when going for shopping to avoid buying one each time.”

Ms Chepkoech noted that in case someone had luggage that was too heavy for a paper bag, then cartons would be used.

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