Middle East and Africa
African Rubbish: Plastic bantastic
Banning the bag is a small step.
Littering in graveyards is generally frowned upon.
But at the edge of Kangemi, a slum in Nairobi, Kenya's capital, a patch of land that used to be a final resting place for humans now serves as a rubbish dump.
A few mangy goats roam around, picking out scraps of food.
Men, too, scrabble around.
“This is where we find our daily bread,” says George Kimani, who collects aluminium cans and plastic bottles and sells them to recyclers.
But one thing is not of use, he says: plastic bags.
Left behind by goats and men alike, they form a carpet of green, blue and white on the ochre earth.
Since their invention in the 1960s, disposable plastic bags have made lives easier for lazy shoppers the world over.
But once used, they become a blight.
This is particularly true in poor countries without good systems for disposing of them.
They are not only unsightly.
Filled with rainwater, they are a boon for malaria-carrying mosquitoes.
Dumped in the ocean, they kill fish.
They may take hundreds of years to degrade.
On March 15th Kenya announced that it will become the second country in Africa to ban them.
It follows Rwanda, a country with a dictatorial obsession with cleanliness, which outlawed them in 2008.