One plastic bag by Miranda Paul; illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon (2015)

[Published by Millbrook Press]


The recycling women of the Gambia are outstanding. Imagine a community used to bags made of natural fibres that breakdown quickly when discarded. What happens when plastic bags are introduced?

A steadily growing pile of rubbish lines the streets of Njau in Gambia. Isatou has been only vaguely aware of this, until the day her goat becomes sick. “Many goats have been eating these,” he says. “The bags twist around their insides, and the animals cannot survive.” Isatou realises something must be done, so she starts by picking up one plastic bag from the pile, then two, until she has a hundred.

She and her friends wash the bags and hang them on the line. Inspired by her sister’s crocheting, Isatou 20150724_171353has an idea. Cutting the plastic bags into strips, Isatou and her friends begin to crochet them into purses which they sell in the city. And gradually the pile of discarded plastic grows smaller and smaller.

Miranda Paul explains her experiences in Africa at the end of this amazing story, “Today, Njau is much cleaner, the goats are healthier, and the garden grow better. Residents from nearby towns travel there to learn the craft of recycling.”

An inspiring beautifully told and illustrated story.

Check out One plastic bag at Auckland Libraries.

Or buy One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of the Gambia (Millbrook Picture Books) from Fishpond.


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