HARGEYSA, – More than 6 years after the republic of Somaliland banned plastic bags, the landscape of its capital city, Hargeysa, continues to be dominated by the brightly coloured bags. Somaliland people use the plastic bags on daily basis for almost anything to be carried whether food, clothes, or Khat. It can be found in almost every house hold.
Although the ban has taken effect, the use of bags continued unabated. It has even become known as "Hargeisa flowers" because they are often found on trees.
During my service as Admin/Finance officer in the Pastoral and Environmental Network in the Horn of Africa (PENHA) in Hargeisa , Somaliland , we have initiated the cleaning of plastic bags from the streets of the cities and towns in the country. We have also demanded that biodegradable plastic bags be replaced with current ones that take more than 1000 years to degrade.
Several workshops to create awareness about the effects of plastic bags to the environment took place in 2002 in the capital Hargeisa, yet merchants were reluctant to stop importing non bio-gradable plastic bags. There were even local factories producing plastic bags in Hargeisa.
The practice still goes on and the environment is in danger partly because of the greedy merchants who defy the local regulations and continue practicing the use of environmentally unfriendly bags.