Rose Mukankomeje, director general of the Rwandan Environmental Management Authority, said the ban is part of an overall government strategy promoting good hygiene among Rwandans.
The environmental impact of the plastic bag ban in Rwanda is huge, she said. Rwanda is today an extraordinarily clean country. Tourism is increasing, which is very good economically for our country.
Still, success didnt come overnight, or with just a law. Campaigns promoting the ban targeted both the public and airline passengers, and the country has put an institution in charge of enforcement. It also has provided alternatives for packaging, and leaders lead by example. Each month every day, Rwandans join leaders in cleaning their respective communities.
We work very closely with local government institutions, with police and others, Mukankomeje said. She noted that the government also contracts with a private company to help with enforcement.
We package in bags done in cotton, biodegradable materials like banana, papyrus, she said. Every country has to check the best option for its people and bring them on board.
Haitis Environmental Minister Jean Vilmond Hilaire did not respond to questions on what alternatives the Caribbean nation is considering and how it plans to enforce the ban, other than notifying customs agents and importers about what products are banned.
Lamothe, the prime minister, said the crackdown is aimed at protecting Haitis coastlines, shores and whats left of its mangroves. He acknowledges that the country has a massive garbage issue and environmentally toxic material clogs 95 percent of our sewage system, creating mass floods in poor neighborhoods... that is costing the state more than $50 million a year if we had the means to clean up.