The Guardian

Eight months on, is the world's most drastic plastic bag ban working?

Kenya’s ban comes with the world’s stiffest fines and some businesses are struggling to find affordable alternatives, but in Nairobi’s shanty towns the clean-up is changing lives
Ruth Kwamboka sells snacks and compostable bags to shoppers at her stall in Kawangware, Nairobi. Photograph: Jennifer Huxta for the Guardian

Waterways are clearer, the food chain is less contaminated with plastic – and there are fewer “flying toilets”.

A year after Kenya announced the world’s toughest ban on plastic bags, and eight months after it was introduced, the authorities are claiming victory – so much so that other east African nations Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi and South Sudan are considering following suit.

But it is equally clear that there have been significant knock-on effects on businesses, consumers and even jobs as a result of removing a once-ubiquitous feature of Kenyan life.

“Our streets are generally cleaner which has brought with it a general ‘feel-good’ factor,” said David Ong’are, the enforcement director of the National Environment Management Authority. “You no longer see carrier bags flying around when

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