The link between plastic bags and poverty in Africa

posted in: Poverty in Africa 0

The debate to save the environment continues all over the world, folk. An item that many of us have used for years and perhaps continue to use without due regard is the plastic bag.

The dangers of plastic bags on ocean life are well document but some folk may not be aware of how plastic bags contribute to poverty in Africa and other developing countries.

How, I hear you ask? Well imagine this, in developed countries when we think about assets, to most of us it’s the homes we own, valuable jewellery etc in some developing countries especially in rural areas, their assets are goats, cows, sheep and other live stock. These are what people trade to send children to school, buy anti malaria tablets etc.
Most African countries do not have the means to recycle plastic bags; in addition some folk are not yet aware of the dangers of carelessly discarding plastic bags.

Imagine therefore if you will a situation where a family wakes up and their prized goat is dead because it swallowed a plastic bag that was carelessly disposed of! I have seen this with my own eyes and the despair in people’s eyes when they realised what had happened
Some African governments such as the Ugandan government have realised the effect of plastic bags on the environment and outlawed them in 2007 and incredibly whilst in some circles this was welcomed there was outrage in others.

Some amongst you may donate clothing to send out to Africa, like plastic bags there are no facilities to recycle nylon and other artificial fabrics; these too end up on agricultural land causing untold damage. Please therefore bear this mind, next time you donate an item of clothing to be sent out to Africa.

There is one thing that doesn’t make sense even to me, African women weave the most amazing baskets, which are environmentally friendly, and are free unlike the plastic bags, why then do folk out there chose to use plastic bags instead?

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