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Al Qaeda-Linked Somali Terrorist Group Bans Plastic Bags

Al-Shabab has declared plastic bags a "a serious threat to the well-being of humans and animals alike."

STR/REUTERS/NewscomSTR/REUTERS/NewscomSomalia's so-called libertarian moment is over, now that Al Shabab—the Al Qaeda-linked Islamist terrorist organization that controls swaths of territory in the southern reaches of the anarchic, East African nation—has declared a prohibition on plastic bags.

News of the ban was first published on the reportedly Shabab-controlled site Somalimemo.net, which aired an audio recording of a Shabab official declaring the bags "a serious threat to the well-being of humans and animals alike."

The New York Times reports that Shabab-linked twitter accounts and radio stations later broadcast news of the ban.

Press reports did not include details of Shabab's enforcement strategy, but if its past behavior is any guide, penalties will be severe. The group already enforces prohibitions on music, movie theaters, and satellite TV, and is known for carrying out public executions of political rivals and homosexuals.

Other East African governments have also taken severe measures to crackdown on plastic bags. Since 2017, the government of Kenya—which is locked in a vicious war with Al-Shabab—has penalized mere possession of plastic bags with up to four years in prison or fines of $40,000.

Rwanda has banned plastic bags since 2008, earning it praise from environmental groups as "Africa's cleanest nation" while its police beat, humiliate, and imprison bag smugglers caught crossing into the country.

It is certainly true that in poorer countries without well-developed waste management systems, plastic pollution poses a significant problem. Loose bags and debris block waterways, pile up in neighborhoods, and wind up in the stomachs of livestock. Most of the plastic getting into the world's oceans comes from poor, populous coastal countries whose litter goes mostly uncollected.

Yet, judging by the thriving black markets for bags that have developed in Rwanda and other nations with bag bans, plenty of people still consider them necessities.

So while East Africa's crop of authoritarian regimes and terrorist organizations are not wrong to worry about plastic's effect on the environment, a more humane solution might be finding ways to improve its waste collection efforts, not hitting the world's poorest people with fines and—often—much worse penalties.

Photo Credit: STR/REUTERS/Newscom

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  • Jerryskids||

    Look at the bright side - the progs will have to stop using "But Somalia!" as the go-to mockery of libertarianism now that the right-thinkers are running things over there. Somalia just joined France and Sweden on the List of Governments We Should Emulate.

  • ||

    California is what it looks like when the terrorists win.

  • Citizen X||

    Great, more ammo for the commentariat Republicans who insist that libertarians are really leftists.

  • ||

    Exactly sad to buy into the whole enviroments ideas without any criticism. Stossel does not.

  • ||

    Exactly sad to buy into the whole enviroments ideas without any criticism. Stossel does not.

  • zazoo||

    Well this is great. Maybe Al Shabab aren't that bad when you get to know them.

  • ||

    Are you serious?

  • Rhywun||

    My God... next thing you know they'll build a light rail line.

  • Eddy||

    "Reduce, reuse, recycle, or feel the wrath of Allah's enforcers!"

  • BearOdinson||

    One needs to go no further to understand the modern left-wing environmentalist movement than this sentence:

    Rwanda has banned plastic bags since 2008, earning it praise from environmental groups as "Africa's cleanest nation"

  • Citizen X||

    It's easy to avoid throwing trash on the ground when your hands have been cut off with a machete.

  • lap83||

    "If your hand causes you to pollute, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that one part of you should perish and not a whole chipmunk get stuck in a soda can " - environmentalist Jesus

  • Don't look at me.||

    "declaring the bags "a serious threat to the well-being of humans and animals alike."

    But our masked gang with semiautomatic assault guns are cool.

  • Marcus Aurelius||

    Full metal jackets, those things are recyclable.

  • ||

    Semiautomatic assault guns? What the fuck are you smoking? You clearly have 0 clue about guns.

  • Deconstructed Potato||

    *full semi

  • AlmightyJB||

    So woke.

  • Zeb||

    So, are they just trolling West Coast proggies now or what?

    I'd have thought that just shooting litterers on sight would be more the Al Shabab style.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Like California politics, it's a model the rest of the Western world would like to adopt.

  • Marcus Aurelius||

    It's a recruitment drive.

  • LarryA||

    Yet, judging by the thriving black markets for bags that have developed in Rwanda and other nations with bag bans, plenty of people still consider them necessities.

    The simple fact that there are countries in this old world where prohibition has created a black market in plastic bags should be required reading for lawmakers at all levels.

    "Godfather, just look! A whole new opportunity has opened up."

  • ||

    Of course black markets are the bread and butter of criminals.

  • Fuck you, Shikha (Nunya)||

    Why is it a black market. That's racist.

  • Marcus Aurelius||

    What is their position on plastic driving straws?

  • Deconstructed Potato||

    A hands-free beverage device?

  • ||

    Is this a satire?

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