Monday March 5 2018

Say goodbye to plastic bags

Say goodbye plastic bags

Nafha Maani Ebrahimi 

By Nafha Maani Ebrahimi

The steps that some African countries have taken towards the ban on plastic bags, is bringing some positive results. For example, in Nairobi all super markets and grocery shops have found alternatives, with some coming up with beautiful replacements such as paper bags and other recyclable material. Maybe this step is taken a bit late, because the African soil has already swallowed a lot of plastic and other hazardous materials in its depth, but still its never late to take a step to rescue nature.

It is however sad to see that in some other countries, the issue of plastic is not yet sorted out. Recently, we were crossing Saudi Arabia heading to Kuwait, it was a trip by car, during the three-hour ride we get a chance to see parts of the desert that end with the border between the two neighbours. It was a disappointing scene. The number of plastic bags, bottles, empty cans and other litter found on the sides of the road was overwhelming.
In some areas where there were fences meant to keep the camels from crossing the road, the plastic bags piled up against the fence and became a part of it! The small pools of water formed from rain, that could be great reservoirs, an essential survival material in the desert, were full of plastic bags. Unfortunately, there have been many cases of suffocation and death for animals that eat such material, but that has not yet pushed authorities to take drastic measures to ban plastic bags.

Having said that, the first blame is on us, people who litter the environment with garbage. The responsibility falls on the shoulders of each member of the society to safeguard the source of our own well-being. In India, I have witnessed the most heart-breaking offenses of littering, literary everywhere! You would visit a beautiful mountainous area, with breath-taking views, but the moment you look down, your eyes meet litter and then it’s all over. Some even have the habit of throwing rubbish out of moving vehicles, during a visit to Mumbai, our windshield was hit by banana peels from a moving bus, followed by an empty milk container, I almost jumped out of my seat, not knowing what hit us.

On the other hand, one of the cleanest countries that I have visited is Singapore. Everyone has heard of the tough laws and measures taken by the Singapore government to keep their country clean, although I am not at all someone who litters the streets, still, I was very conscious of what I do on the streets of Singapore, it seems that tough laws do work, even if you are not an offender!