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THE DEBATE

Famine as a weapon of war: 20 millon lives at risk in Africa, Yemen (part 1)

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THE DEBATE

Famine as a weapon of war: 20 millon lives at risk in Africa, Yemen (part 2)

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Video: Putin building bridge from annexed Crimea to mainland Russia

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South Korea: K-pop girl band encourage plastic surgery

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Karl Ove Knausgaard: The Master of the literary selfie

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BUSINESS DAILY

Brazil's meat industry gets grilling from EU

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EYE ON AFRICA

Attacks on aid workers threaten humanitarian operations in South Sudan

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IN THE PAPERS

'The Russian protest movement reawakens'

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IN THE PAPERS

French Guiana: 'How did we get here?'

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DOWN TO EARTH

We meet the people behind fascinating environmental, health and technological innovations in a bid for sustainable solutions to our changing world. Saturday at 7.20 pm. You can watch it online as early as Friday.

Latest update : 2013-04-22

Rwanda's plastic bag-free utopia

Not so long ago, Rwanda suffered from an all-too-familiar problem in Africa: billions of plastic bags choking waterways and destroying entire ecosystems. To fight this scourge of the environment, the government launched a radical policy to ban all non-biodegradable plastic from the country.

Since 2008, anyone arriving in Rwanda is ordered to give up their plastic or have it confiscated. Flight attendants pre-warn passengers as they land in the capital Kigali and authorities are braced to seize this new form of contraband at the border with other African nations.

As with many other illegal goods, plastic bag trafficking has become lucrative and offenders can end up in jail.

While Rwanda has been hailed for transforming its landscape, certain businesses have suffered as a result of the law. The alternative to plastic bags is paper, which is both more expensive and less durable.

In this first episode of Down to Earth, we travel to Rwanda to investigate whether banning plastic is an untenable attempt at preserving the environment or an audacious policy that serves as a lesson to the rest of the continent.

 

A programme produced in association with African Development Bank

By Mairead DUNDAS , Juliette LACHARNAY , Marina BERTSCH

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