Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

THE DEBATE

France Ambassadors Conference: Hollande outlines foreign policy priorities (part 1)

Read more

FOCUS

Video: Meeting US inmates as Obama pushes for criminal justice reform

Read more

REPORTERS

From the archives: Caught in the crossfire in Colombia

Read more

ENCORE!

Video: Harlan Coben on suspense, suburbia and success

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

Democratic Republic of Congo: Inside Camp Garlic, a stronghold of ADF militia

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Rousseff defends her track record

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

More debates on the economy, not on the burkini

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Apple set to face record tax penalty from EU

Read more

We travel to meet the people behind fascinating environmental, health and technological innovations in a bid for sustainable solutions to our changing world. Saturday at 6.10 pm. We’ll be back in September with a new series.

DOWN TO EARTH

DOWN TO EARTH

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

COMMENT(S)

Archives

2016-07-14 women

Women and work: Why parity could add trillions to global growth

The world is a better place for women and girls in 2016 than even a decade ago. But that's not the case for everyone, and certainly not everywhere. Access to job opportunities is...

Read more

2016-07-01 environment

Extinction crisis: Saving the planet's species from an irreversible fate

Species are disappearing faster than at any time since the dinosaurs' demise. Scientists are calling it the sixth mass extinction and it's largely driven by man. This week the...

Read more

2016-06-10 drones

Drones to the rescue: How pilotless aircraft are saving lives

Historically known for taking lives, drones are now emerging as one of the most promising tools for health and emergency services.

Read more

2016-05-27 Sustainable development

Plastic planet: Using today's resources tomorrow

This week Down to Earth explores the alarming rate in which plastic has plastered the planet. Since it was invented a century ago the petroleum-based material has invaded all...

Read more

2016-05-13 Senegal

Senegal: Lighting the way for off-grid communities

In this new episode of "Down to Earth", we head to Senegal, where only three out of five households have access to electricity

Read more