Walk around Jordan and you’ll realise pretty quickly that the country has a huge plastic bag and litter problem. Cheap black plastic bags are literally everywhere and they are a real eyesore. No more so then in important landmarks and tourist destinations where the country is supposed to be showcasing its best. In an effort to deal with this problem, the UNESCO office in Amman has joined forces with the Jordanian government to launch a media-savvy campaign to rid the country of the plastic bag.
The ‘Balash Kees’ Facebook page, which was launched today, already has over three hundred likes and the campaigners are asking people to stay in touch to learn how to tackle one of Jordan’s major environmental issues – plastic bags. According to the campaign material, a plastic bag is used on average for 12 minutes but stays in the environment for 1,000 years without degrading. The solution? Stay away from plastic bags. Balash Kees translates loosely as ‘no need for a bag’.
A hard-hitting poster (see above) has already been released on Facebook showing a plastic bag in the middle of a platter of mansaf, the traditional Jordanian dish of lamb and rice. The poster explains that over 60,000 sheep in Jordan die due to eating plastic bags. The solution it explains is that Jordanians stop using so many plastic bags and bring along their own re-useable bags at the supermarket. Judging by the other photos, there will also be posters looking at the impact on plastic bags on birds, our own health and also their presence at touristic sites such as Petra. It is estimated that every Jordanian uses 500 plastic bags per year on average.
It is early days for this campaign, but I really hope to see an active effort to tackle the behaviours that allow littering as well as the use of plastic bags. Clearly one campaign can’t change the whole country and it will take time to shift preferences to the use of re-usable bags. However, this is an encouraging start and the very positive reactions the campaign is picking up on Facebook and Twitter is a good sign. There are understandably lots of people in Jordan that want this issue dealt with so I hope they manage to put this on the national agenda and tackle the blasé attitudes people have to littering.
Fore more on Jordan’s environment news see: