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A dikdik, one of the smallest and most graceful antelopes.

Eco-shopping

Plastic bags are littering Kenya's beautiful countryside. Instead of seeing wildlife when entering the major destinations, many of our visitors see black, plastic bags littering the roads instead.

Not only do plastic bags and water bottles tarnish Kenya's image, but they are not eco-friendly either. In fact, five two-liter plastic bottles make one square foot of carpet or the filling for one ski jacket. Thirty-five two-liter plastic bottles make one sleeping bag! It is time to follow the example set by Nepal and ban plastic bags from the area. Nepal's campaign started in 1999 with the government's decision to ban all kinds of plastic bags and bottles in the Khumbu region, near Mount Everest, the world's highest mountain.

To follow Nepal's example, here are some tips to avoid plastic bags when shopping:

  • Use a kikapu instead of a plastic bag. Locally made from natural material, kikapus are a natural way to shop!
  • If a kikapu is too small, ask the clerk for a cardboard box instead of a plastic bag. You can reuse, return or burn the box later.
  • When bagging your individual fruits and vegetables, decline a bag for each item and purchase the vegetables loosely instead.
  • If you do need a plastic bag, try to put as much in it as possible. Then reuse the bag later for other uses.
  • Charge a deposit for plastic bottles and wine bottles. Once returned, they could be recycled.

Until Kenya builds an official recycling plant, plastic bottles may be recycled as fencing posts and glass could be used as filler for local construction. So buy a kikapu and tell everyone you know that you're banning plastic bags and shopping the eco way to preserve the beauty of our county!

Copyright Anne Loehr of Eco-resorts

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