This is a typical roadside in Zanzibar – check it out. NO PLASTIC BAGS!! NO BLACK POLY BAGS!! NO WATER SACHET BAGS!!! Amazing to see, especially for someone like myself who lives in Ghana, where plastic bags have become part of the local scenery, and where government officials and business people and consumers have collectively chosen to look the other way and completely ignore the damage that continues to be done to our environment.

Have another look, a little closer this time….

So, you may ask – how did the folks in Zanzibar manage to do this? Well, it really wasn’t all that difficult. The government passed legislation making it illegal for shopkeepers to give out plastic bags and they also made it illegal to sell water in sachet bags. The citizens responded by using woven baskets and cloth bags and jute sacks and re-useable wooden crates when they are doing their shopping. The government made potable water available for the people. Voila!! Clean roadsides, unclogged gutters, no plastic bags floating in the rivers, streams and ocean – absolutely a pleasure to walk the streets in village and city, and drive along the roads and highways! Congratulations, Zanzibar!! And Ghana?? well, you can see that the example has been set – let us see if we have the collective will to follow it. Happy Earth Day!

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