Somali militant group Al-Shabab bans single-use plastic bags

Al-Shabab recruits walk down a street in the Somali capital Mogadishu on March 5, 2012 following their "graduation.".
Al-Shabab recruits walk down a street in the Somali capital Mogadishu on March 5, 2012 following their "graduation.". Mohamed Abdiwahab/AFP/Getty Images

Somalia-based militant group Al-Shabab has reportedly announced a ban on the use of single-use plastic bags in territories under its control.

The Al-Qaeda-affiliated organization, which has been blamed for thousands of deaths since its inception in 2006, dubbed plastic a “serious threat to the well-being of both humans and animals,” the BBC reported, citing Al-Shabab’s radio station Radio Andalus.

The Islamist group didn’t outline its strategy to enforce the plastic ban, the BBC reported, although the fear that the group invokes means it’s fair to surmise that its orders will be followed by most.

The group also banned the logging of rare trees, according to The Independent.

READ MORE: Somalis protest against truck bombings that killed 300, police open fire

This isn’t the first time that Al-Qaeda or jihadist groups loyal to it have expressed concern over the state of the environment.

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When U.S. forces raided Osama bin Laden’s hideout in Pakistan in 2011, they found a letter, attributed to the now-deceased Al-Qaeda leader, in which he called on the American people to push then-President Barack Obama to tackle the “catastrophic” phenomenon of climate change.

Bin Laden wrote that Americans needed to save Obama from corporate and other nefarious influences to empower him to “save humanity from the harmful gases that threaten its destiny.”

He added that the world would be better off fighting climate change than waging what he claimed was a war against Islam.

READ MORE: Canadians should recycle 85% of plastics by 2025, environmental groups say 

More recently, Taliban leader Haibatullah Akhundzada issued a statement calling on Afghans to plant more trees.

He said Islamic tradition and the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad behoove Afghans to engage in tree-planting, which he said “plays an important role in environmental protection, economic development and the beautification of the earth.”

— With files from Reuters

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