Hilda Gacheri with her traditional banana fibre bag
One innovative form 3 student at Materi Girls high school in Tharaka Nithi County, Kenya has made an eco-friendly bag from banana barks and leaves as the ban on plastic bags takes effect.
Hilda Gacheri a student from a humble background realized she had no enough money to purchase a bag to carry her items to school. She thus resorted to making the environmentally friendly bag as a cheaper alternative to buying a modern shopping bag which would have cost her at least 200 shillings, an amount she could not afford.
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Back at her home in Meru County, the traditional bag is nothing new as they always make such bags to carry farm produce after harvesting them from the farm. She thus saw no harm in utilizing the same for her shopping as schools re-opened.
The National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) has recognized her efforts and named her the brand ambassador of alternative carrier bags. She would use the opportunity to mentor other students and Kenyans as a whole on the importance of living in a clean, safe, secure environment.
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In Kenya, a large number livestock have died after consuming plastic bags as they roam from one region to another in search of pasture. A study by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNDP) released three weeks ago found that 15 per cent of all cows slaughtered in the capital Nairobi were full of plastics in their stomachs.
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The bags once consumed by animals over time end up in human bodies after people eat meat, with some researches indicating the plastics lead to cancers, birth defects, developmental problems in children and immune system suppression.