One of the world’s former poorest countries (now the fastest growing economy) has leaped ahead of those in the west by standing up for the environment and completely banning plastic bags.

While large chain supermarkets in Australia reluctantly remove toxic bags from their stores, Botswana’s leaders have put an outright ban on the carry bags in order to protect the environment and local wildlife.

For those giving their collection of grocery bags a puzzled look – plastic bags may be great for carrying your weekly shopping but once disposed they release toxic chemicals into the soil and often end up killing animals who attempt to eat.

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Just recently, animal rescuers found a pilot whale struggling to swim in Southeast Asia, and on closer inspection found the animal had 17 plastic bags clogged up in its stomach. Click here to read more.

Botswana’s Government said the ban on plastic bags would take effect from 1 November and would include plastic carry bags and plastic flat bags such as those with and without zip locks.

Although the punishment for using plastic bags isn’t severe, tourists are being advised that carrying one will be seen as offensive.

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Image: Jon Tyson/Unsplash

Africa safari specialist, Abercrombie & Kent (A&K), welcomed the decision, saying the country’s ecology needs to be protected.

“A&K is in full support of this ban,” A&K Regional Managing Director Sujata Raman said. “Plastic wreaks environmental havoc across the globe, negatively impacting precious ecosystems and we, like many of our guests, welcome this move.”

“Botswana is one of our key destinations with a pristine ecology that deserves to be protected.”

Sujata Raman, A&K Australia’s Regional Managing Director

Botswana joins Kenya and Rwanda where plastic bag bans are already in place.

 

READ: How to ditch plastic bottles on your next holiday

READ: Royal Caribbean to axe all plastic straws by the end of the year

READ: The Travel Corporation to eliminate single-use plastic

What are your thoughts on the ban?