As the debate continues around the world on single-use plastics and its impact on the environment, the African continent is leading the world in creating a cleaner environment through plastic regulations.

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A total of 34 countries across the continent have implemented single-use plastics regulations, as reported in Quartz.

The Fight For A Clean Environment

Effective June 1, people traveling to Tanzania are advised to leave plastics at home. The country has rolled the second phase of its plastic bag ban, which now involves tourists.  

“The government does not intend for visitors to Tanzania to find their stay unpleasant as we enforce the ban,” a statement from vice president Samia Suluhu’s office read. “However, the government expects that, in appreciation of the imperative to protect the environment and keep our country clean and beautiful, our visitors will accept minor inconveniences resulting from the plastic bags ban.”

Countries, including Kenya, Rwanda, and Morocco, have banned single-use plastics.

Kenya imposes the world’s toughest ban on plastics. Anyone found using plastic bags can face a $38,000 fine or a four-year jail sentence, as reported in the Global Citizen.

In Rwanda, plastic bags have been banned since 2008 after other countries around the world began imposing a tax to use them. People caught smuggling plastic bags into the country can face jail time.

At one point, Morocco was ranked the second country in the world with the most plastic bags. As a result, the Government Council adopted a bill banning the use, production, and import of plastic bags.

The efforts led by nations in Africa were recently highlighted in a study done by UN Environment calling the bans “good news in terms of air pollution, given that much of Africa’s waste ends up in flames.”

Analysts stated that burning plastic waste can increase the risk of heart disease, irritate respiratory ailments such as asthma and damages the nervous system.

Around The World

Back in March, the United Nations Environment Assembly passed a resolution to address single-use plastic product pollution encouraging governments  “promote the more resource-efficient design, production, use and sound management of plastics across their life cycle.”

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And while some critics question the effectiveness of such bans, African nations are proving that taking action can lead to a better environment.