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Joined: Feb 6, 2007
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Province/State: Nairobi Area
City: Nairobi
Plastic paper bags a nuisance to the environment, how can this be addressed?
Mar 30, 2007

Plastic paper bag (polyethylene) is the type of wrapping paper mostly used in the retail shops, supermarkets and many other places in my country. It has become a nuisance especially in the residential estates and garbage dumping sites of major cities and towns. Almost everywhere you go is littered with such papers which can not rot or decompose (are non-biodegradable).They are really polluting the environment and creating health hazards.
How do you manage this problem in your country? Any suggestions on how to minimize the use of plastic paper bags and tackle the problem once and for all?

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Sacha

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Re: Plastic paper bags a nuisance to the environment, how can this be addressed?
Mar 30, 2007

I try to use canvas bags whenever I can - bring my own to the store for about as many groceries as I am going to buy.

That is harder for families that rely on 'one-stop' grocery shopping, where they do their month's groceries in one go and end up with 10-20 bags of groceries.

Our level of consumption and packaging of goods is already ridiculous, but we insist of wrapping those already overly wrapped items a second time to get them home.

We have to start by analying our purchasing habits, reducing those and making attempts to transport those products we need in a low impact way.

The majority of environmental cost however comes before we even make the purchase. The harvest and transporting of raw goods, their manufacturing and then their transportation to warehouses then redistrubution to retailers. The problem is not just the bags we use, but the entire system of food distribution.


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Shweta

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Re: Plastic paper bags a nuisance to the environment, how can this be addressed?
Apr 3, 2007

Yes, not using plastic bags ourselves is something that we all must try to practice. Also, in some parts of India, use of polythene bags has been banned. One of the states to do so here is Himachal Pradesh. Yes, we still find the use of plastic in that state but its much reduced now.

Are there other countries where polythene bags have been banned?


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Re: Plastic paper bags a nuisance to the environment, how can this be addressed?
Apr 18, 2007

The ministry of Environment and natural resources (Kenya) has already set the ball rolling towards tackling the plastic waste menace .I’m impressed with this is an article found on the NEMA web site. I hope all the stakeholders will cooperate.


- Another chance to manage plastic waste


A comprehensive policy to address the plastic waste problem in Kenya has been long overdue. Time has come for all stakeholders to harness their resources and get involved in the programmes designed to tackle pollution and health hazards caused by plastics.

Experts agree that the only way out of this mess is to enact policies to regulate the production and use of plastics.

Kenya’s hope of finding a solution to the plastic problem has become a reality, through the new initiative unveiled by the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources.

The country’s hope rests in a joint initiative by the United Nations Environment Programme (Unep), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the National Environment Management Authority (Nema), and the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM), which have launched a plastic pilot project focusing on Nairobi , before moving to other towns countrywide.

The new initiative builds on four diverse approaches in tackling the plastic problem, including policy instruments, recycling, best practices and public awareness.

The involvement of key stakeholders handling plastic issues is a clear priority, if the project is to succeed. The involvement of industrialists, community-based organisations and the media at the initial stages of this project, provides the much-needed support that was lacking in the past.

Success in addressing the plastics problem, therefore, requires political backing. President Kibaki affirmed the Government’s stand on plastics when he addressed the 23rd session of the Unep Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum, in Nairobi, last year, by welcoming initiatives to address the problem.

Kenya can borrow a leaf from successful cases in Africa such as South Africa and Rwanda. The latter has banned plastics materials of less than 100 microns thickness, and backed this initiative with a public awareness campaign. The result? The black plastic bag has disappeared from Kigali and other major towns.

Like Rwanda, Kenya’s pilot project has adopted a participatory approach that involves the private and public sector, consumers and other stakeholders, to come up with economic instruments and facilities to rid the country of plastic bags.

For more information visit the web site: www.nema.go.ke


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hilary barter

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Re: Plastic paper bags a nuisance to the environment, how can this be addressed?
Apr 19, 2007

One approach that's being taken to address the problems caused by plastic bags is to ban them in municipalities (towns or cities.) I've heard that San Francisco, California just introduced a law that bans plastic bags, and several small towns in Canada have done this as well. It's alot easier to ban 'the bag' in one community than to attempt to ban it in a whole country! Let's work at it one community at a time...

Also, I noticed in Senegal that, while black plastic bags are very common, other less wasteful, recycled materials are used to package goods as well. We should applaud this! For instance bread is wrapped in used newspaper to take home, and often pieces of fabric are used to wrap packages. If only these methods were more common.


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Robert Margolis

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Re: Plastic paper bags a nuisance to the environment, how can this be addressed?
Apr 20, 2007

We re-use our plastic bags from the store for trash bags. Also we use canvas bags when we have too many plastic bags in the house.


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vas

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Re: Plastic paper bags a nuisance to the environment, how can this be addressed?
Apr 20, 2007

Banning the use of Plastic bags in commercial packing and industrial packing is a good idea. replacing or using recycled paper bags in place of plastic bags.bans reduce the use of palstic.informing the general public about hazards of using plastic bags can result in voluntary giving up of their use.


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abimbola oladejo

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Re: Plastic paper bags a nuisance to the environment, how can this be addressed?
Apr 21, 2007

I live in Nigeria and have been opportuned to visit a couple of African countries and this issue is the same. Since the advent of packaged water in nylons, the nuisance level increased tremendeously.
I believe if{1} we can all separate our waste into bio-degradable and non-biodegradable items before dumping them into the trash can, {2}, if the government can come up with a legislation making it compulsory for the companies involved in packaging with plastic bags to find a way of retrieving these bags from circulation or pay stiffer penalties, {3}, what of re-cycling these bags. In my country, some gardeners uses these bags as nursery for their flowers and help take them of the streets though the effect of this is not as should be expected
I believe that all stakeholders should rise up to their expections to make the environment a healthier place for us all to live.


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That guy

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Re: Plastic paper bags a nuisance to the environment, how can this be addressed?
Apr 27, 2007

This is interesting. Nobody even talks about this issue in the U.S., even though we're running out of landfill space at a worrying pace. Many grocery stores offer a choice between paper and plastic, but if you show up with something really reusable like a canvas bag you get funny looks.

What somebody needs to do is start a new trend. Get some idiot celebrities to go shopping with canvas, and the sheep will follow...

Better yet, we can all just thumb our noses at tradition and use canvas or something else permanent. My dad does this and so do I, and as I said we get weird looks some of the time but none of the stores have a real rule that you can't bring your own bag.


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Prince Charles Jiduwah

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Re: Plastic paper bags a nuisance to the environment, how can this be addressed?
Apr 30, 2007

Impose tax on the use of plastic bags, this will give room to the use of paper bags.


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Natalya

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Re: Plastic paper bags a nuisance to the environment, how can this be addressed?
May 11, 2007

There is a big problem of utilization of plastic bags in our country, we use a lot of plastic , but it is not being recycled, or there is no place where we can give it.


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siddiqua

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Re: Plastic paper bags a nuisance to the environment, how can this be addressed?
May 12, 2007

This is a very good discussion thread. As a microbiologist, I know of technologies that manufacture biodegradable plastics, which are stable. Just that we need cooperation between countries in order to push forward this technology.
Meanwhile, the few steps tha can be taken are trying to carry canvas (as someone stated in the earlier)/ cloth/fiber bags when you shop. Make sure that you spread the word to supermarkets to start handing out things in their own branded cloth bags. Buy vegetable and other stuff that are not packaged with plastic wrapping.
I've heard of a technology that is using all discarded plastic to make a space ship. if they send plastic to outer space. hopefully, the aliens dont' invade us.
nerdybig grin


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e.sum

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Re: Plastic paper bags a nuisance to the environment, how can this be addressed?
May 28, 2007

In Toronto, canvas bags are becoming a very common sight in grocery stores, but I've yet to see other types of retail stores offer this.


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Kimia

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Re: Plastic paper bags a nuisance to the environment, how can this be addressed?
Jun 2, 2007

I think we also need to be smarter consumers in purchasing less of the packaged goods - so focusing less on what we use to transport the goods home and more on the amount and type of products are consuming. For example, I refuse to buy sauces, spices, canned products, cookies, chips, etc, and try to make everything from scratch so that I can purchase the ingredients from a bulk store (and making healthy choices at the same time). Since I've become more conscious of my choices as a consumer, the amount of waste I produce have definetely reduced. Oh - and I have made the switch to canvas bags smile


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RAJ

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Re: Plastic paper bags a nuisance to the environment, how can this be addressed?
Jul 12, 2007

stunned
Plastic is not only nuisance but also very dangerous to our health and health of millions of other creatures on our planet.
Do we ever think while eating a small chocolate wrapped in plastic that the chocolate will give pleasure to our tongue for FEW SECONDS, shall be digested in HOURS, but the plastic wrap will remain on our earth for MILLION YEARS.
Please note -
1. Plastics release 'dioxins' which is carcinogenic. Recent EU guidelines in food safety underlines this.
CHILLED WATER IN PLASTIC BOTTLES; poses health risks due to dioxin releases (Check reports from John Hopkins Cancer Research)
2. 'Plastic bag waste' is unmanageable and cause threat to our environment. Many stray animals consume this and die (experienced in India)
Think :
1. Plastic bags choking the city drainages (Mumbai floods in monsoon months is due to this)
2. Plastic bags entering the lakes, rivers and ocean - entering the aquatic food chain and ultimately affecting US.
3. The Plastic bags are non biodegradable and in arid situation it breaks down to small particles. Think the situation when it can enter through our breath and settle on our lungs or contaminate the entire food system.
4.The plastic wastes forming a layer on the soil in near future- which will prevent percolation of rain water in the soil - thus posing multiple environment challenges.
5. The list is plenty. - Apart from the fact that it is produced from NON RENEWABLE and FAST DEPLETING NATURAL resource like Petroleum.

The Action plan -
- Initiation of a Global protest against it.
- Sentitizing the Governments to ban it. And accruing resources for Bio-degradable plastics (made from Corn/Potao/Seaweed etc.)
-Educating the consumers to discard it.
smile To carry a canvas bag always - starting the move at home.


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