USE of plastic carrier bags will be banned by December next year, with retail outlets urged to find environment-friendly alternatives, NewsDay has learnt.
The ban is meant to protect the environment from plastic bag pollution as they are not recyclable.
In a letter addressed to one P Rambanepasi of Retailers Association of Zimbabwe, dated November 12, gleaned by NewsDay, the Environmental Management Agency (Ema) director for environmental management Steady Kangata said the use of plastic carrier bags would be phased out by December next year.
“Globally, plastic waste has become a menace, hence the need to reduce the use of plastics. Ema is, therefore, taking steps towards the phase out of plastic carrier bags. We are encouraging your affiliate members to consider alternative non-plastic carrier bags which are environmentally friendly.
“Plastic carrier bags are set to be phased out by the end of December 2022. We appreciate efforts by some of your members who have already started promoting (the use) of alternative bags. A green economy is the way to go and your co-operation in this regard is greatly appreciated,” Kangata’s letter read.
A number of countries have already banned plastic bags for the safety of the environment.
A few years ago, Zimbabwe banned the use of kaylites after they had turned out to be the leading pollutants of the environment. Kaylites were mainly used by the catering industry to pack food takeaways.
The ban, however, is yet to achieve the intended results as backyard restaurants are still using kaylites to package food.
Ema claimed that the use of plastic food containers exposed people to cancer and plastic clogs the country’s drainage and sewer systems, especially during the rainy season.
Other countries that will effect a ban on plastic packaging next year include France, whose Environmental ministry on Monday stated that it would ban plastic packaging for nearly all fruit and vegetables from January 2022 in a bid to reduce plastic litter.
Banning the use of plastic bags reduces plastic waste leaks into oceans, and pollution of land and water sources.
While plastic bags are useful for shopping, they cause environmental pollution, kill wildlife, harm humans, are not easy to recycle, and cost a lot to clean up.
However, plastic production in the world is forecast to double by 2040, and may account for 20% of the world’s oil production by 2050.