Environmental issue has been around for decades. It especially gets more attention over the last two decades for the effects are starting to show massively. The only way to stop the damage from deteriorating furiously quick is by changing our lifestyle. Because it is us, humans, who have actually done the damage to our planet.
One of the lifestyle changes that has been campaigned massively is to go plastic-free. However, it is downright hard shift for it is somewhat defying the mainstream.
But what if a big influencer makes the change? And by ‘influencer’, we mean a party whose actions are actually impacting so many lives and quite forceful? Someone like… the government.
It is still not a common thing for governments around the world to ban plastic use. But some are initiating a clear action towards the environment.
1. Leaf Rapids, Manitoba, Canada and San Francisco, California, US
Leaf Rapids is the first town in North America to ban plastic bags. The Mayor and Municipal Council met on March 22, 2007, to legislate a ban on single-use plastic shopping bags. This movement was soon followed by the city of San Francisco the same year on March 27. The two areas marked a bold environmental movement across North America.
2. Hawaii, US
In 2015, Hawaii became the first state in the US to fully ban plastic bags at grocery stores checkout. Specifically, the government prohibits stores from handing out plastic bags to customers at checkout. Although, the ban makes exceptions for some plastic bags, including compostable and those used for bulk items, medical or sanitary purposes.
3. Sikkim, India
The tiny state of Sikkim, nestled in the Himalayas of northeastern India, took two major decisions back in 2016. First, it banned packaged drinking water in government offices and events. Second, it banned styrofoam and thermocol disposable plates and cutlery. Prior to these, the state has banned plastic bags since 1998. Despite being small and isolated, the state has emerged as one of India’s environmental leaders. The ban itself has been proved effective within society, but it faces challenges as more and more tourists come to visit Sikkim.
4. Tanzania, East Africa
As of June 1, 2019, travellers should pack carefully when visiting the country. They have announced the second phase of its plastic bag ban. The first phase, which started in 2017, ban the manufacture and in-country distribution of plastic bags. The second phase extends to the tourists, which requires visitors to avoid packing or carrying any plastic bags as they have to leave the products at a designated desk in the airport. Exception extends only for medical, industrial, construction, agricultural, waste management packaging and Ziploc bags for toiletries (as long as they leave Tanzania as the visitors do).
5. Bali, Indonesia
Started out by local youth activists, the Balinese government finally ban single-use plastic. Like, legally. The tourist island has been fighting plastic waste that littered their environment, especially the beaches. With the endless rush of tourists, it’s quite hard to keep the waste from overflowing. Unless the authority steps in, the island’s environmental issue will only worsen. Read the story of the Island of Gods’ legal action on plastics here.
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