Kenya imposes world's toughest law against plastic bags
Kenyans producing, selling or even using plastic bags will risk imprisonment of up to four years or fines of $40,000, as the world's toughest law aimed at reducing plastic pollution came into effect last month in the country.
The East African nation joined more than 40 other countries that have banned, partly banned or taxed single use plastic bags, including China, France, Rwanda, and Italy.
Many bags drift into the ocean, strangling turtles, suffocating seabirds and filling the stomachs of dolphins and whales with waste until they die of starvation.
Plastic bags take between 500 to 1,000 years to break down, said Habib El-Habr, an expert on marine litter working with the U.N. Environment Programme in Kenya. ElHabr said plastic bags enter the human food chain through fish and other animals. In Nairobi's slaughterhouses, some cows destined for human consumption had 20 bags removed from their stomachs.
Kenya's law allows police to go after anyone even carrying a plastic bag. But Judy Wakhungu, Kenya's environment minister, said enforcement would initially be directed at manufacturers and suppliers.