There is a worldwide effort to end the use and production of single-use plastics. In 2002, Bangladesh became the first country to ban single-use thin plastics. Some countries have followed suit by banning the use of all or some plastic or by taxing all single-use plastic items. The fight against plastic pollution is not only to make our environment more beautiful and cleaner, but above all to save the planet we live in from death. While rivers, oceans, land, and even mountains are already littered with plastic waste, researchers have recently found traces of plastic in our bodies, in our blood.
The plastic we throw on our land and oceans goes into two main areas where we get our livelihood. The shelf life of a typical plastic item is up to 1000 years, plastic bottles up to 450, and plastic bags around 20 years. Let’s just say our whole life. It’s too long in our lives to live with plastic in our system and it can’t be good.
As the whole world fights for the good fight for a cleaner and greener life, Africa is ahead and preparing new crops for the whole world. Of the 170 countries that have pledged to ban single-use plastics, some 77 have enacted a full or partial ban, while 34 are unique in Africa.
Countries like Tanzania, Kenya, Mali, Cameroon, Uganda, Ethiopia, Malawi, Morocco, South Africa, Rwanda, and Botswana have strict guidelines for the use of single-use plastics. Either they are completely banned or the government imposes a very high tax on them.
Tanzania is going much higher, announcing in 2019 that travelers will no longer be able to carry plastic bags with them when visiting the country. This includes all plastic supports, regardless of thickness. They also make announcements during the flight to return all plastic bags. At the airport and the border crossing points, there are special counters where travelers can bring all kinds of plastic bags. The only exception is to use the zip lock bags as toiletries provided they leave Tanzania with you. Travelers are encouraged to bring cloth bags instead of plastic bags.
So now you know what to pack and what not to plan for the wonderful African vacation you’ve been waiting for. It is always better to be an environmentally conscious traveler.