Kenya’s Plastic Ban Is Upside Down


I took this photo a few weeks after Kenya’s countrywide ban, a push for biodegradable secondary packaging materials. I wanted to write something about whether the ban is going to be successful or no but changed my mind with no specific reason. Ever since then I have been observing the dump site which I found out is also grazing field for the cattle. Finally I decided to write something against this picture

If you are on your kawaida daily routine you will hardly notice there is something awkward about the cattle and the site. It took me years before I realized the cattle graze there, I only became keen after taking that photo. It is very difficult to identify what exactly these domesticated urban animals are feeding on. I have grown up knowing herbivores feed on grass and grass only, surprisingly the animals look pretty healthy despite the hours feeding on trash.

Figuring out whether such trash is nutrition to these animals definitely is a topic for another day. Practically this is a perfect example of one man’s trash is another man’s gold. And this, probably is the only way these cattle has adapted in their feeding habits. Nairobi has no grazing grounds and if any, very few and restricted.

People seem to have taken the “paper bag” ban positively although in the estates and slum areas where small business are more, the traders still use the illegal packagings materials to curb extra costs. I am personally yet to hear of anyone being arrested for the same. Good news is that most traders in the Nairobi CBD have adjusted to the ban without fail as demanded by the said law.

Question still is, will the ban be successful or no? Just after the ban, Kenyans on Twitter showed mixed emotions like they are always customer to that being the Economist’s post “plastic bantastic” and @BBCAfrica’s tweet. A majority expressing positive feelings for the ban to be effective. At this point only time will determine the outcome. 

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