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In August 2017, Kenya completely banned plastic bags and implemented some of the world’s harshest penalties for the new policy. Carrying, manufacturing or importing plastic bags can result in a fine of around USD 19,000 to USD 38,000, or four years of jail time! Plastic bags can be dropped off at local grocery stores to be disposed of - where you presumably won’t be arrested. Liners for trash bins and bags for disposal of chemical or medical waste are exempt from the ban. And Kenya isn't the only African country taking a stand: Rwanda, Eritrea and Mauritania have enacted similar bans.

Seems extreme? You know that a mind-blowing amount of plastic contaminates the environment, but let’s quantify it: 91% (6.3 billion metric tons) of plastic manufactured globally isn’t recycled and becomes waste. And in Kenya, up to 20 plastic bags have been found in livestock digestive tracts.

Consider ‘eco-pioneer’ California. Requesting a plastic bag from a merchant costs the Californian an extra 10 cents - not exactly a barrier to plastic consumption. The Kenyan government is taking sustainability more seriously - $18,999.90 more seriously, to be exact. In countries like Kenya, green living is not a status symbol, it is a necessity. As a result, expect to see developing nations increasingly lead the way in implementing environmental initiatives. And once consumers in other parts of the world hear of these initiatives, how will you compare?

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