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Kenya Brings in World’s Toughest Plastic Bag Ban: Four Years’ Jail Or $40,000 Fine

Producing, selling and using plastic bags becomes illegal as officials say they want to target manufacturers and sellers first

NATIONAL- Kenyans producing, selling or even using plastic bags will risk imprisonment of up to four years or fines of $40,000 from Monday, as the world’s toughest law aimed at reducing plastic pollution came into effect.

The East African nation joins more than 40 other countries that have banned, partly banned or taxed single use plastic bags, including China, France, Rwanda, and Italy. 

Many bags drift into the ocean, strangling turtles, suffocating seabirds and filling the stomachs of dolphins and whales with waste until they die of starvation. 

“If we continue like this, by 2050, we will have more plastic in the ocean than fish,” said Habib El-Habr, an expert on marine litter working with the UN environment programme in Kenya.

Plastic bags, which El-Habr says take between 500 to 1,000 years to break down, also enter the human food chain through fish and other animals. In Nairobi’s slaughterhouses, some cows destined for human consumption had 20 bags removed from their stomachs.

“This is something we didn’t get 10 years ago but now it’s almost on a daily basis,” said county vet Mbuthi Kinyanjui as he watched men in bloodied white uniforms scoop sodden plastic bags from the stomachs of cow carcasses.

Kenya’s law allows police to go after anyone even carrying a plastic bag. But Judy Wakhungu, Kenya’s environment minister, said enforcement would initially be directed at manufacturers and suppliers. 

It took Kenya three attempts over 10 years to finally pass the ban, and not everyone is a fan. 

Samuel Matonda, spokesman for the Kenya Association of Manufacturers, said it would cost 60,000 jobs and force 176 manufacturers to close. Kenya is a major exporter of plastic bags to the region. 

“The knock-on effects will be very severe,” Matonda said. “It will even affect the women who sell vegetables in the market – how will their customers carry their shopping home?” 

Big Kenyan supermarket chains like France’s Carrefour and Nakumatt have already started offering customers cloth bags as alternatives.

Back Again! SBPU Hosts Another Community Block Party

SAN BERNARDINO, CA- The San Bernardino Pastors United (SBPU) will be having another Community Block party on Saturday, September 16th at Anne Sherrill Park, located at 1367 California Avenue in San Bernardino.  The community leaders are giving back to the community and taking a stance against crime, increasing gang actively and other senseless violence in our City. The Pastors believe that we must show love, help thy neighbor, be there for one another. The Churches of San Bernardino will take a stand together as a united front to encourage the community.

There will be Free food, free groceries, free shoes, free backpacks for kids, free clothes and free health checks and the money machine. There will be a life-saving message by Pastor Raymond Turner, Temple Missionary Baptist Church, powerful gospel music, dancing and good fellowship. Please register by phone, email or at our website www.sbpastorsunited.org.  They are asking the community to join them as they bring “Healing, Change, and Progress” to the City of San Bernardino, for more information call (909) 353-7977 or email sbpastorsunited@gmail.com.

 

Exclusive Interview: Rialto’s WetPaint Larry Chats on Being an Inspiration and Pioneer in the Arts in the Inland Empire

By Naomi K. Bonman

As you drive around Southern California, you can’t help but to notice graffiti. It’s on the freeway bridges, ramps, train cars, abandon buildings, and just about every flat surface that is in attention to the general public.

Graffiti frustrates many because they feel as if it destructs the city unless it is done in a tasteful manner. Over the recent years, we have seen more graffiti artists who have turned their art into something more positive and of value, such as Rialto, California’s own WetPaint Larry.

“I’ve been painting for a long time,” he states on what inspires him to paint. “Everything around me inspires me to go harder. I have a lot of things that I paint that makes me feel good.”

WetPaint Larry started off doing graffiti but now he paints murals for small businesses, cities, and schools. He is known well regionally and has built up an impressive social media following with over 15,000 followers on Instagram. Larry’s accomplishments recently earned him recognition in the “Under 30 Awards” that was presented by Assemblywoman Eloise Gomez Reyes. 

“That was a good highlight for this year,” WetPaint Larry discusses his recent achievement. “That was something huge for me because when I went in there and looked around I seen high rank [city officials]. As I sat there, I thought ‘[Man], I’m among great people that are doing great work. So, for me that’s huge from being a graffiti artist to getting that award. I look at it all the time.”

Since his latest city achievement, WetPaint Larry has been on the grind with trying to secure more jobs for himself in the schools. He is looking forward to expanding beyond Rialto and has had school officials from Fontana and San Bernardino call him to do some work for their schools.

You can check out WetPaint Larry’s work on his Instagram page @wetpaintlarry and if you want to collaborate with him on a project send him a direct message via the platform.