Zimbabwe says to phase out plastic carrier bags by December 2022

Threat to animals … Plastic has been known to kill animals because it cannot be digested

Zimbabwe will phase out the use of plastic carrier bags by December 2022, becoming one of a few countries in the world to do so.

The Environmental Management Agency (EMA) said the move would reduce plastic pollution and prevent wildlife deaths.

EMA is seeking a by-in from the Confederation of Zimbabwe Retailers (CRZ) to make the transition a success.

EMA spokesman Amkela Sidange said: “The engagement process between EMA and CRZ seeks to find cooperation over the phasing out of plastic bags. Our concern as EMA is the continuous disposal of plastic material into the environment.

“We’re proposing the adoption of non-plastic carrier bags and also interrogating alternatives that are there which we can adopt as a country.

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“We are focusing on the cost, durability, affordability, and also environmental friendly nature of the proposed alternatives to tackle all problematic plastics which are polluting our landscapes and wildlife.”

Globally, over 40 countries that have banned, partly banned or taxed single use plastic bags, including China, France, Rwanda, Kenya and Italy.

Kenya in 2017 imposed the world’s toughest law against plastic bags. Kenyans producing, selling or even using plastic bags risk imprisonment for up to four years or fines of US$40,000.

CZR president Denford Matashu commended the engagements as part of the country’s efforts to join other countries in the region adopt eco-friendly policies.

“CZR endorses the phasing out of non-biodegradable carrier bags and we have been engaging with EMA for a smooth transition within the December 2022 deadline,” Matashu said.

“We’ll soon be engaging with packaging suppliers as we urge them to begin the change-over.

“Many countries like Rwanda and South Africa are examples of the possibility of the transition,” noted Matashu.-Zimlive