Sunday, 6 January 2008

New bags for old: banning plastic and conserving traditional skills in Uganda

In 2007, Uganda and other East African states banned plastic bags (known as kavera) that wreak havoc on the environment. As in many other countries, non-biodegradable bags block drainage systems, pollute rivers, litter roadsides, killing animals, birds and fish, as well as destroying the beauty of Kampala, the capital city, and rural areas. It is now illegal to import them.

COBATI (Community-Based Tourism Initiative), working with women of the Nubian minority, has arranged for their traditional handwoven bags to be sold by a supermarket chain in Kampala. Results: craftswomen are assured of a steady market, the supermarket chain will offer environmentally friendly baskets, and COBATI plans to expans sales country-wide. The organization had already received a World Bank prize in 2000 for Village and Homestead Tourism.

Full text by Maria Baryamujura in ODE Magazine 15 Oct 07. See her other writings, her COBATI organization and its original plan for Village and Homestead eco-tourism, which won a World Bank Development Marketplace prize.

For more detailed discussions of green capitalism and ecotourism see

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