Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

FRENCH CONNECTIONS

Are the French rude or is it a big misunderstanding?

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Opposition activist Evan Mawarire: Zimbabweans hope they can 'reset our future'

Read more

IN THE PRESS

Donald Trump's cheat sheet

Read more

IN THE PRESS

'Powerless in Syria' or 'Complicit in the bombings'?

Read more

THE DEBATE

Tightening grip: French government unveils controversial migrant law

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Ford executive ousted over misconduct

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

More than 100 Nigerian schoolgirls still missing after Boko Haram attack

Read more

FOCUS

Italy helps integrate asylum seekers through training schemes

Read more

ENCORE!

Film show: Berlinale, 'The Shape of Water' and 'I, Tonya'

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. Or you can catch it online from 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

2018-02-16 aviation

Is the aviation industry free-riding on climate change efforts?

In the fight against climate change, more and more sectors are hopping on board the global movement to protect the planet. But one industry is an exception to the rule: the...

Read more

2018-01-30 Bitcoin

Could Bitcoin cost us our clean energy future?

Gone are the days when it was just a currency for geeks. 2017 was without a doubt the year of the ubiquitous Bitcoin. In the past year, investors have flocked to the highly...

Read more

2018-01-16 Smartphone

How ethical is your smartphone?

In the last decade, more than seven billion smartphones of all makes have been produced in the world, almost as many people as there are on the planet. On average we upgrade our...

Read more

2017-12-15 Natural disaster

Was 2017 the worst year for the environment?

Floods, droughts, hurricanes and wildfires: 2017 stood out for both the number and intensity of extreme weather events. But were the last twelve months more catastrophic for the...

Read more

2017-12-01 Fossil fuels

Oil industry: Is green the new black?

The world will pump more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere in 2017 than in any other year in recorded history. With doomsday scenarios on the horizon, there's growing pressure...

Read more