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Posted under: News World

Kenya Bans Plastic Bags, Has Harsh Punishments For Anyone Caught Using Them

Violators can be fined up to a whopping $38,000, and could have to serve jail time.

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There are fees for plastic bags in places like Los Angeles, but Kenya has taken it a step further and issued an outright plastic bag ban.

The ban was largely in result of a plastic bag epidemic in Kenya, Business Insider reports.

According to the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), Kenyan supermarkets distributed as many as 100 million plastic bags every year before the ban.

And Kenyans weren't recycling those bags. Roads and trees had become covered with plastic bags, and plastic litter was beginning to take a toll on the environment.

The bags blocked drains and killed wild animals. Farmers were losing livestock; animals sent out to graze were eating the bags instead, becoming sick or choking. Aquatic animals weren't safe, either. Bags thrown into the water clumped into plastic islands off the the Kenyan coast.

The ban, which includes the use, importation or manufacturing of plastic bags, went into effect on August 28.

And the government isn't playing around. Anyone who violates the ban could face up to $38,000 in fines and up to four years in prison. Plastic garbage bags and plastic wrapped goods are excluded from the ban.

The law was passed in February, and residents were given several months to adjust to the change. During this grace period, plastic bag importers tried to appeal the ban in Kenya’s High Court, but their appeal was rejected.

Plastic pollution is an especially hazardous issue in Kenya, but it’s also a worldwide problem. A plastic waste patch measured to be the size of Texas was recently found in the Pacific Ocean.

Kenya, and other countries that have issued similar bans, may be onto something …

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