Mauritania has banned the use of plastic bags to protect the environment and the lives of land and sea animals.
More than 70% of cattle and sheep that die in the capital, Nouakchott, are killed by eating plastic bags, environment ministry official Mohamed Yahya told BBC Afrique.
Plastic bag manufacturers could be jailed for up to a year. Plastic makes up a quarter of 56,000 tonnes of waste produced annually in Nouakchott, official statistics show.
Mauritania’s Organization of Consumer Protection head Moctar Ould Tauf said he welcomed the ban, Efe news agency reports. It was of “particular importance” given the negative impact of plastic bags on the environment, animals and marine species, he said.
Environment Minister Amedi Camara said that nearly all of the plastic package waste is not “collected and is found in the natural environment – land and sea – where they are sometimes ingested by marine species and livestock, causing their death”.
Concord, Massachusetts has become one of the first communities in the U.S. to ban the sale of single-serving plastic water bottles.
According to the Associated Press, the plastic bottle ban resulted from a three-year campaign by local activists. The activists pushed to reduce waste and fossil fuel use.
Octogenarian Jean Hill lead the charge, telling The New York Times in a 2010 interview, “The bottled water companies are draining our aquifers and selling it back to us.” She declared, “I’m going to work until I drop on this.”
The campaign Ban the Bottle claims that “It takes 17 million barrels of oil per year to make all the plastic water bottles used in the U.S. alone. That’s enough oil to fuel 1.3 million cars for a year.” Their website also states: “In 2007, Americans consumed over 50 billion single serve bottles of water. With a recycling rate of only 23%, over 38 billion bottles end up in landfills.”