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Why Plastic Bans aren’t Working in Africa

An insufficient supply of potable water in many countries, mostly in Sub-Saharan Africa, has given rise to a new plastics economy driven by the increasing popularity of water sachets. More than 30 of Africa’s 54 countries have progressively adopted anti-plastic bag policies since 2000. But experts claim the effects remain insignificant, considering the persistent use of plastic products such as water sachets across much of Africa, and the disregard for the numerous threats they pose. In many African countries, single-use plastics have become a part of people’s daily life. In the absence of alternatives, citizens are obliged to live in a plastic cycle—buying, using, dumping and buying again. Many seem to be oblivious of the environmental impact of the waste they generate on a daily basis. Some of those who are aware blame the authorities instead for the filthy situation.