Single-use plastic bags are banned in Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana, Namibia, Malawi, Morocco…
Plastic bags are everywhere these days, and while they may seem like a cheap, easy way to carry our goods, they are wreaking havoc on the planet in a number of ways.
The Namibian Government has announced a complete ban on plastic bags in all its game parks and reserves. According to a press statement from Namibia Wildlife Resorts (NWR), the ban is in immediate effect and covers all national parks and reserves in the country. Plastic bags will be confiscated upon entry into any Namibian National Park or Reserve.
The Namibian Ministry of Environment and Tourism has been open about its desire to see a countrywide ban on plastic bags in an effort to cut down on pollution and waste-management costs. The ban on plastic in its parks and resorts looks like a first step in this direction.
Meanwhile, Botswana has announced a countrywide ban on plastic bags to come into effect on 1 November 2018. The ban will make the importing, trading and commercial use of plastic bags a criminal offence. Exceptions will be made for plastics that are essential for health and hygiene.
With this announcement, Botswana joins other African countries such as Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, Tunisia, Morocco, Rwanda, Uganda, Somalia and Eritrea that have banned single-use plastic bags. South Africa imposed a levy on plastic bags in 2004 but they have not yet been banned.
How will the ban affect visitors to Africa?
What does this mean for those travelling to these beautiful countries? Possibly not too much depending on how you pack. The fines and jail time set out as punishment for violations are targeting manufacturers and importers of plastic bags, not your average tourist travelling with their personal belongings in a Ziploc bag. Luggage may be searched on entry and any kind of single-use shopping bag (like your local grocery store type bags) will be taken away, so best not to put your shoes in one of these bags.
African Encounters welcomes the news of these positive steps to protect our precious natural resources. Take a break from plastic and come visit Africa’s great wilderness areas with us.