Plastic bags and the prosperity index


Plastic shopping bags are a symbol of prosperity. Well, at least in Ghana they are. According to an article in the June 22 issue of the Wall Street Journal ("Garbage Trashes Ghana's Economic Glory" by Drew Hinshaw), plastic shopping bags are "emblematic of [that] nation's prosperity." Ghana is home to 26 million citizens and, at one time, was among Africa's greatest success stories with the fastest growing economy in 2011 and "an abundance of plastic shopping bags serving as a tangible symbol of a rising consumer class."

Today, however, plastic shopping bags are also contributing to the trashing of the infrastructure of Accra, the capital. The Wall Street Journal reported that Ghana's consumer-driven economic growth has had a negative impact on its "meager infrastructure." In addition to electrical problems caused by too many appliances, the "country also faces a profusion of tossed-out plastic bags," said the Journal, which, along with other trash, are plugging the city's water main during floods.

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