Visitors to Tanzania should add a new item to their checklist before visiting the East African nation: Get rid of plastic bags.
That’s because on June 1, Tanzania joined Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa and more in banning single-use plastic bags, according to a report from The Independent.
For visitors looking to make sure their travel is as sustainable as possible, these plastic bag bans are a welcome change.
Countries around the globe are jumping on board with plastic bag bans as a way to combat mounting plastic waste. Tanzania’s ban takes aim at plastic bags “imported, exported, manufactured, sold, stored, supplied and used.”
That means no using or distributing plastic bags and no manufacturing them either.
The penalties for breaking the new rules are steep. According to DW, “Manufacturing plastic bags in Tanzania can lead to a two-year prison sentence or a fine of up to $400,000. Anyone found carrying a bag can be subject to an on-the-spot fine of $13.”
Small Ziploc-style bags are allowed for airline passengers, but tourists hoping for a trip with the smallest possible environmental footprint should ditch those too.
It is bans like Tanzania’s that have outlets like Quartz proclaiming: “Africa is leading the world in plastic bag bans.”
Quartz reports that 34 African nations have enacted plastic bag bans.
Because 40% of trash worldwide is burned, Quartz writes, a plastic bag ban not only cuts down on harmful plastics in the ocean, it dramatically reduces the air pollution caused by burning plastic.
For travelers who want to visit some of the world’s most stunning spots, Africa’s new focus on environmental responsibility means the chance at an even more sustainable vacation.
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