In an article published February 15, 2014 by the British newspaper The Guardian, journalist Émilie Clavel reports on the effects of the plastic bag ban in Rwanda. Since 2008 non-biodegradable polyethylene (PE) bags are illegal in Rwanda. Businesses have replaced them with paper bags or other forms of packaging. Since the ban, Clavel states, Rwanda suffers from significantly less landscape pollution than other African countries. The ban forms part of a larger effort by Rwanda to transform the country into a sustainable middle-income nation and may ensue a more general ban of plastics at a later stage. Still, Rwanda struggles with a thriving black market for plastic bags as well as the excessive use of paper bags. Concluding, Clavel wonders what “the Western world could achieve if the political will really existed”.
Émilie Clavel (February 15, 2014). “Think you can’t live without plastic bags? Consider this: Rwanda did it.” The Guardian.