While in Kenya a couple of months ago, I opened the newspaper and found a two-page article titled, “Will we triumph in the war on plastics?” (Daily Nation, Sept. 18, 2017). The article immediately caught my attention knowing that Oak Park recently took action to limit the environmental impact of single-use plastic and paper bags.

The Kenyan article states, “Indeed, not a day goes by without some new sort of reminder of what great a cost this commodity of convenience comes at: toxic waste sites, choking drainage lines, and others.”

“Our resolve to ban polythene bags is informed by scientific evidence of the negative effects of the same,” Prof. Wakhungu said. “They include the inability to decompose, the negative aesthetic cost from littering, blockage of sewerage and water drainage infrastructure, pollution of marine environment and death of livestock and wildlife due to consumption. … According to the minister [of Environmental Management], the solution to the problem lies with us.”

The article goes on to explain the government’s response: “In one of the world’s toughest sets of laws aimed at reducing plastic pollution, Kenyans producing, importing, selling or even using the bags risk up to four years in jail or fines of between Sh2 million and Sh4 million [the equivalent of $20,000-$30,000 U.S.].”

This put a new perspective on the village of Oak Park’s modest fee on single-use bags starting Jan. 1, 2018. I won’t pay the fee, but I will gladly be part of the solution by getting in the habit of bringing my own reusable bags.

Daily Nation Article: http://www.nation.co.ke/lifestyle/dn2/Plastic-bag-ban-Have-the-cows-finally-come-home/957860-4099846-pip5dpz/index.html

Dick Alton

Interfaith Green Network

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