Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Organic farming in France: Green is the new black

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

Nigeria : Suicide bombers die in failed attack with suspected Boko Haram links

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Turning On Trump?

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World According to Trump (part 1)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

Kim Jong-Un, François Fillon, French Police Brutality (part 2)

Read more

PEOPLE & PROFIT

Europe market jitters: Political risks give investors cause for concern

Read more

FOCUS

A closer look at former Colombian president Uribe's murky past

Read more

FASHION

Haute Coiffure: When hairdressing becomes a work of art

Read more

#TECH 24

The startup space race

Read more

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

COMMENT(S)

Archives

2017-02-15 environment

DIY: Zero Waste

Imagine a world without trash or landfills. Every year, 1.3 billion metric tons of municipal solid waste are thrown away around the world - and that number is expected to...

Read more

2017-01-31 environment

Making the ultimate sacrifice for the planet

All over the planet, environmental activists put their lives on the line - to save a tree, stop the construction of a dam or an airport. In 2015, 185 environmental activists were...

Read more

2017-01-23 France

France's nuclear strategy: Full speed ahead, for now

Built in 1977, France's oldest nuclear plant should never have celebrated its 40th birthday. François Hollande promised voters and his Green party allies that if elected, he...

Read more

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